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BOSTON 
PUBLIC 
LIBRARY 




rv 



T^ . FOURTEEN DAY book, 



6 D m 

Jl '07 



ADVENTURES 



IN 



THE WILDERNESS; 



OR, 



CAMP-LIFE IN THE ADIRONDACKS. 



BY 



WILLIAM H. H. MURRAY. 



" The mountains call you, and the vales ; 
The woods, the streams, and each ambrosial breeze 
That fans the ever-undulating sky." 

Armstrong's Art of Preserving Health. 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS. 




BOSTON 
DE WOLFE, FISKE & CO. 

j6i AND 365 Washington SntEsr 



L 



|^Cs>-i 






Entered according to Act of Congress, m the year 1869. by 

FIELDS, OSGOODj & C'^. 

in the Clerk's OflSce of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



A ^ Ml 



To my friend and companion, O. H. Platt, of Meriden, 
Conn., witii whom I have passed many happy hours by 
mountain and stream, and sharfed the sportsman's tri- 
umph and the sportsman's toil ; in memory of many a 
tramp and midnight bivouac, and as a token of my very 
sincere regard and friendship, this book is affectionately 
dedicated, 

W. H. H. M. 

Boston, April, 1869, 



NSW KOUTE TO THE ADIRONDACKS. 

ON page 42 of this work the author com- 
mends the Keeseville route to parties^nter- 
ing the wilderness from Lake Champlain. Since 
its publication, information has reached him of 
such a nature as to induce the recommendation 
of the Plattsburg route as well. 

The latter is comparatively an easy route. 
From Plattsburg cars run to Point of Rocks ; (or 
Ausable Forks), intersecting the Keeseville road, 
and sa^dng some sixteen miles of unpleasant 
staging from Port Kent. At Fouquet's Hotel, 
Plattsburg, every facility for rest and prepara- 
tion can be had. At Point of Rock§.pa,rtie.s c^n 
arrange to meet their means of conveyance to 
Martin's, Smith's, Bartlett's, and other houses at 
St. Regis. 

Invalids, or persons not in robust health, who 
may venture upon this trip, will find Plattsburg 
a pleasant and convenient place for recuperation 
before cutting loose from all the amenities of 
civilization. 

The author would particularly advise all par- 
ties, before starting, to engage by letter convey- 
ance from Point of Rocks to their destination. 



CONTENTS 



Introduction 



Chap. 



The Wilderness. 
Why I go to the Wilderness 
Sporting Facihties .... 

What it costs in the Wilderness 

Outfit 

Where to buy Tackle 

Guides 

How to get to the Wilderness . 

Hotels 

When to visit the Wilderness . 

Healthfulness of Camp Life . 

What Sections of the Wilderness to visit 

Black Flies 

Mosquitoes 

Ladies' Outfit 

Wild Animals 

Provisions 

Bill of Fare 



IL The Nameless Creek 
in. Running the Rapids . 
IV. Thb Ball 



Pagb 



9 
15 
21 
26 
30 
32 
40 
44 
43 
50. 
52 
55 
56 
58 
60 
62 
62 

65 

75 
S6 



Vi CONTENTS. 

V. Loon-Shooting in a Thunder-Storm . .101 

VI. Crossing the Carry 114 

VII. Rod and Reel 126 

VIII. Phantom Falls 141 

IX. Jack-Shooting in a Foggy Night . . 168 
X. Sabbath in the Woods .... 193 
XI. A Ride with a Mad Horse in a Freight- 
Car 20J 



APPENDIX. 
Beach's Sight 233 



INTRODUCTION. 



SEVEEAL of the chapters composing this 
volume were originally publislied in the 
** Meriden Literary Eecorder," during the fall and 
winter of 1867. Through it they received a wide 
circulation, and brought to the author many let- 
ters from all parts of the country, urging him to 
continue the series, and, when completed, publish 
them in a more permanent form. Lawyers, phy- 
sicians, clergymen, and sporting men were united 
for once in the expression of a common desire. 
Not a few delightful acquaintances were made 
through this medium. It was suggested by these 
unseen friends, that such a series of descrij^tive 
pieces, unencumbered with the ordinary reflec- 
tions and jottings of a tourist's book, free from 
the slang of guides, and questionable jokes, and 
' bear stories," with which works of a similar 
character have to a great extent been filled, would 
be gladly welcomed by a large number of people 
who, born in the country, and familiar in boy- 
hood with the gun and rod, still retain, in un- 



8 INTRODUCTION. 

diminished freshness and vigor, their early love 
for manly exercises and field sports. Each article, 
it was urged, should stand alone by itself, having 
its own framework of time and cliaracter, and 
representing a single experience. The favorable re- 
ception the articles thus published received, and the 
cordial communications from total strangers which 
they elicited, together with a strong, ever-present 
desire on my part to encourage manly exercise in 
the open air, and familiarity with Nature in her 
wildest and grandest aspects, persuaded me into 
concurrence with the suggestion. The composi- 
tion of these articles has furnished me, amid grave 
and arduous labors, with mental recreation, from 
time to time, almost equal to that which I enjoyed 
when passing through the experiences which they 
are intended to describe. 

In the hope that what I have written may con- 
tribute to the end suggested, and prove a source 
of pleasure to many who, like myself, were " born 
of hunter's breed and blood," and who, pent up in 
narrow offices and narrower studies, weary of the 
city's din, long for a breath of mountain air and 
the free life by field and flood, I subscribe myself 
their friend and brother. 



THE WILDERNESS. 

WHY I GO THERE, — HOW I GET THERE, — WHAT 1 
DO THERE, — AND WHAT IT COSTS. 

THE Adirondack Wilderness, or tlie " North 
Woods," as it is sometimes called, lies be- 
tween the Lakes George and Champlain on the 
east, and the river St. Lawrence on the north 
and west. It reaches northward as far as the 
Canada line, and southward to Booneville. Its 
area is about that of the State of Connecticut. 
The southern part is known as the Brown Tract 
Reoion, with which the whole wilderness by 
some is confused, but with no more accuracy than 
any one county might be said to comprise an 
entire State. Indeed, " Brown's Tract " is the least 
interesting portion of the Adirondack region. It 
lacks the lofty mountain scenery, the intricate 
mesh-work of lakes, and the wild grandeur of the 
country to the north. It is the lowland district, 
comparatively tame and uninviting. Not until 
you reach the Racquette do you get a glimpse of 
the magnificent scenery which makes this wilder- 
ness to rival Switzerland. There, on the very 
1* 



10 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

ridge-board of the vast water-slied which slopes 
north^^•a^d t(^ the St. Lawrence, eastward to tlie 
Hudson, and southward to the Mohawk, you can 
enter upon a voyage the like of which, it is safe 
to say, the world does not anywhere else furnish. 
For hundreds of miles I have boated up and down 
that Avilderness, going ashore only to "carry" 
around a fall, or across some narrow ridge divid- 
ing the otherwise connected lakes. For weeks I 
have paddled my cedar shell in all directions, 
swinging northerly into the St. Regis chain, west- 
ward nearly to Potsdam, southerly to the Black 
Eiver country, and from thence penetrated to that 
almost un visited region, the " South Branch," with- 
out seeing a face but my guide's, and the entire 
circuit, it must be remembered, was through a 
wilderness yet to echo to the lumberman's axe. 
It is estimated that a thousand lakes, many yet 
unvisited, lie embedded in this vast forest of pine 
and hemlock. From the summit of a mountain, 
two years ago, I counted, as seen by my naked 
eye, forty-four lakes gleaming amid the depths 
of the wilderness like gems of purest ray amid the 
folds of emerald-colored velvet. Last summer I 
met a gentleman on the Racquette who had just 
received a letter from a brother in Switzerland, an 
artist by profession, in which he said, that, " having 
travelled over all Switzerland, and the Rhine 
and Rhone region, he had not met with scenery 



I 

WHY I GO THERE. 11 

which, judged from a purely artistic point of view, 
combined so many beauties in connection with 
such grandeur as the lakes, mountains, and forest 
of the Adirondack region presented to the gazer's 
eye." And yet thousands are in Europe to-day 
as tourists who never gave a passing thought to 
this marvellous country lying as it were at their 
very doors. 

Another reason why I visit the Adirondacks, 
and urge others to do so, is because I deem the 
excursion eminently adapted to restore impaired 
health. Indeed, it is marvellous what benefit 
physically is often derived from a trip of a few 
weeks to these woods. To such as are afflicted 
with that dire parent of ills, dyspepsia, or have 
lurking in their system consumptive tendencies, 
I most earnestly recommend a month's experience 
among the pines. The air which you there inhale 
is such as can be found only in high mountainous 
regions, pure, rarefied, and bracing. The amount 
of venison steak a consumptive will consume 
after a week's residence in that appetizing at- 
mosphere is a subject of daily and increasing 
wonder. I have known delicate ladies and fragile 
gchool-girls, to whom all food at home was dis- 
tasteful and eating a pure matter of duty, average 
a gain of a pound per day for the round trip. 
This is no exaggeration, as some who will read 
these lines know. The spruce, hemlock, balsam.- 



12 ADVENTURES I^ THE WILDERNESS. 

and pine, which largely compose this wilderness, 
yield upon the air, and especially at night, all 
their curative qualities. Many a night have I 
laid down upon my bed of balsam-boughs and 
been lulled to sleep by the murmur of waters 
and the low sighing melody of the pines, while 
the air was laden with the mingled perfume 
of cedar, of balsam and the water-lily. Not a 
few, far advanced in that dread disease, consump- 
tion, have found in this wilderness renewal of life 
and health. I recall a young man, the son of 
wealthy parents in New York, wdio lay dying in 
that great city, attended as he was by the best 
skill that money could secure. A friend calling 
upon him one day chanced to speak of the Adiron- 
dacks, and that many had found help from a trip 
to their region. From that moment he pined for 
the woods. He insisted on what his family called 
" his insane idea," that the mountain air and the 
aroma of the forest would cure him. It was his 
daily request and entreaty that he might go. 
At last his parents consented, the more readily 
because the physicians assured them that their 
son's recovery was impossible, and his death a 
mere matter of time. They started with him for 
the north in search of life. When he arrived at 
the point where he was to meet his guide he was 
too reduced to walk. The guide seeing his con- 
dition refused to take him into the w^oods, fear- 



WHY I GO THERE. 13 

ing, as he plainly expressed it, that he would " die 
on his hands." At last another guide was pre- 
vailed upon to serve him, not so much for the 
money, as he afterwards told me, but because he 
pitied the young man, and felt that " one so near 
death as he was should be gratified even in his 
whims." 

The boat w^as half filled with cedar, pine, and 
balsam boughs, and the young man, carried in the 
arms of his guide from the house, w^as laid at full 
length upon them. The camp utensils w^ere put 
at. one end, the guide seated himself at the other, 
and the little boat passed with the living and the 
dying down the lake, and was lost to the group 
watching them amid the islands to the south. 
This was in early June. The first Aveek the guide 
carried the young man on his back over all the 
portages, lifting him in and out of the boat as he 
might a child. But the healing properties of the 
balsam and pine, which were his bed by day and 
night, began to exert their power. Awake or 
asleep, he inhaled their fragrance. Their pungent 
and healing odors penetrated his diseased and 
irritated lungs. The second day out his cough 
wms less sharp and painful. At the end of the 
first week he could walk by leaning on the pad- 
dle. The second week he needed no support. 
The third week the cough ceased entirely. From 
that time he improved with w^onderful rapidity. 



14 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

He " went in " the first of June, carried in the 
arms of his guide. The second week of Novem- 
ber he '' came out " bronzed as an Indian, and as 
hearty. In five months he had gained sixty-five 
pounds of flesh, and flesh, too, " well packed on," 
as they say in the woods. Coming out he car- 
ried the boat over all portages ; the very same 
over which a few months before the guide had 
carried him, and pulled as strong an oar as any 
amateur in the wilderness. His meeting with 
his family I leave the reader to imagine. The 
wilderness received him almost a corpse. It re- 
turned him to his home and tlie world as happy 
and healthy a man as ever bivouacked under its 
pines. 

This, I am aware, is an extreme case, and, as 
such, may seem exaggerated ; but it is not. I 
might instance many other cases which, if less 
startling, are equally corroborative of the general 
statement. There is one sitting near me, as I 
write, the color of whose cheek, and the clear 
brightness of whose eye, cause my heart to go out 
in ceaseless gratitude to the woods, amid which 
she found that health and strength of which they 
are the proof and sign. For five summers have 
we visited the wilderness. From four to seven 
weeks, each year, have we breathed the breath of 
the mountains ; bathed in the waters which sleep 
at their base ; and made our couch at night of 



SPORTING FACILITIES. 15 

moss and balsam-boughs, beneath the whispering 
trees. I feel, therefore, that I am able to speak 
from experience touching this matter ; and I be- 
lieve tliat, all things being considered, no portion 
of our country surpasses, if indeed any equals, in 
health-giving qualities, the Adirondack Wilderness. 



SPORTINa FACILITIES. 

This wilderness is often called the " Sportsman's 
Paradise " ; and so I hold it to be, when all its ad- 
vantages are taken into account. If any one goes 
to the North Woods, expecting to see droves of deer, 
he will return disappointed. He can find them 
west and north, around Lake Superior, and on the 
Plains ; but nowhere east of the Alleghanies. Or 
if one expects to find trout averaging three or four 
pounds, eager to break surface, no matter where or 
when he casts his fly, he will come back from his 
trip a " sadder and a wiser man." If this is his 
idea of what constitutes a " sportsman's paradise," 
I advise him not to go to the Adirondacks. Deer 
and trout do not abound there in any such num- 
bers : and yet there are enough of both to satisfy 
any reasonable expectation. Gentlemen often 'Hsk 
me to compare the " North Woods " with the 
" Maine Wilderness." The fact is, it is difficult to 
make any comparison between the two sections. 



16 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

they are so unlike. But I am willing to give my 
reasons of preference for the Adirondacks. The 
fact is, nothing could induce me to visit Maine. 
If I was going east at all, I should keep on, nor 
stop until I reached the Provinces. I could never 
bring my mind to pass a month in Maine, w4th 
the North Woods within forty-eight hours of me. 
I will tell you why. Go wdiere you will, in 
Maine, the lumhermen have been before you ; and 
lumbermen are the curse and scourge of the wil- 
derness. Wherever the axe sounds, the pride and 
beauty of the forest disappear. A lumbered dis- 
trict is the most dreary and dismal region the eye 
of man ever beheld. The mountains are not 
merely shorn of trees, but from base to summit 
fires, kindled by accident or malicious purpose, 
have swept their sides, leaving the blackened 
rocks exposed to the eye, and here and there a few 
unsightly trunks leaning in all directions, from 
which all the branches and green foliage have been 
burnt away. The streams and trout-pools are 
choked with saw-dust, and filled w ith slabs and 
logs. The rivers are blockaded with "booms" 
and lodged timber, stamped all over the ends with 
the owner's "mark." Every eligible site for a 
camp has been appropriated ; and bones, offal, 
horse-manure, and all the debris of a deserted 
lumbermen's tillage is strewn around, offensive 
both to eye and nose. The hills and shores are 



SPORTING FACILITIES. 17 

littered with rotten wood, in all stages of decom- 
position, emitting a damp, mouldy odor, and send- 
ing forth countless millions of flies, gnats, and mos- 
quitoes to prey upon you. Now, no number of 
deer, no quantities of trout, can entice me to sue ]i 
a locality. He who fancies it can go ; not I. In 
the Adirondack Wilderness you escape this. There 
the lumberman has never been. No axe lias 
sounded along its mountain-sides, or echoed across 
its peaceful waters. The forest stands as it has 
stood, from the beginning of time, in all its maj- 
esty of growth, in all the beauty of its unshorn 
foliage. No fires have blackened the hills ; no 
logs obstruct the rivers ; no saw-dust taints and 
colors its crystal waters. The promontories which 
stretch themselves half across its lakes, the islands 
which hang as if suspended in their waveless and 
translucent depths, have never been marred b}^ 
the presence of men careless of all but gain. You 
choose the locality which best suits your eye, and 
build your lodge under unscarred trees, and upon 
a carpet of moss, untrampled by man or beast. 
There you live in silence, unbroken by any sounds 
save such as you yourseK may make, away from 
all the business and cares of civilized life. 

Another reason of my preference for the Adiron- 
dack region is based upon the mode and 7nanncr in 
which your sporting is done. Now I do not plead 
guilty to the vice of laziness. If necessary, I can 



18 ADVENTURKS IN THE WILDERNESS. 

work, and work sharply ; but I have no special 
love for labor, in itself considered ; and certain 
kinds of work, I am free to confess, I abhor ; and 
if there is one kind of work which I detest more 
than another, it is traiiqmig ; and, above all, 
tramping through a lumbered district. How the 
thorns lacerate you ! How the brambles tear your 
clothes and pierce your flesh ! How the mesh- 
work of fallen tree-tops entangles you 1 I would 
not walk two miles tlirough such a country for all 
the trout that swim ; and as for ever casting a 
fly from the slippery surface of an old mill-dam, 
no one ever igaw me do it, nor ever will. I do not 
say that some may not find amusement in it. 
I only know that I could not. Now, in the North 
Woods, owing to their marvellous water-communi- 
cation, you do all your sporting from your boat. 
If you wish to go one or ten miles for a " fish," your 
guide paddles you to the spot, and serves you while 
you handle the rod. Tliis takes from recreation 
every trace of toil. You have all the excitement of 
sporting, without any attending physical weariness. 
And what luxury it is to course along the shores 
of these secluded lakes, or glide down the winding 
reaches of these rivers, overhung by the outlying 
pines, and fringed with water-lilies, mingling their 
fragrance with the odors of cedar and balsam ! To 
me this is better than traviping. I ha^e sported 
a month at a time, without walking as many miles 



gPORTING FACILITIES. 19 

as there were weeks in the month. To my mind, 
this peculiarity elevates the Adirondack region 
above all its rivals, East or West, and more than all 
else justifies its otherwise pretentious claim as a 
" Sportsman's Paradise." In beauty of scenery, in 
health-giving qualities, in the easy and romantic 
manner of its sporting, it is a paradise, and so will 
it continue to be while a deer leaves his track 
upon the shores of its lakes, or a trout shows 
himself above the surface of its waters. It is this 
peculiarity also which makes an excursion to this 
section so easy and delightful to ladies. There is 
nothing in the trip which the most delicate and 
fragile need fear. And it is safe to say, that, of all 
who go into the woods, none enjoy the experiences 
more than ladies, and certain it is that none are 
more benefited by it. 

But what about gatne, I hear the reader inquire. 
Are deer plenty ? Is the fishing good ? Well, 
I reply, every person has his own standard by 
which to measure a locality, and therefore it is 
difficult to answer with precision. Moreover, it 
is not alone the presence of game which makes 
good sporting. Many other considerations, such 
as the skill of the sportsman, and the character 
and ability of the guide, enter into this problem 
and make the solution difficult. A poor shot, and 
a green hand at the rod, will have poor succes.s 
anywhere, no matter how good the sporting is ; 



20 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

and I have known parties to be "starved out/' 
where other men, w^ith better guides, were meeting 
with royal success. With a guide who under- 
stands his business. I would undertake to feed a 
party of twenty persons the season through, and 
seldom should they sit down to a meal lacking 
either trout or venison. I passed six weeks on 
the Eacquette last summer, and never, save at one 
meal, failed to see both of the two delicious arti- 
cles of diet on my table. Generally speaking, no 
inconvenience is experienced in this direction. 
Always observing the rule, not to kill more than 
the camp can eat, which a true sportsman never 
transgresses, I have paddled past more deer 
within easy range than I ever lifted my rifle at. 
The same is true in reference to trout. I have 
unjointed my rod when the w^ater was alive with 
leaping fish, and experienced more pleasure as I 
sat and saw them rise for food or play, than any 
thoughtless violator of God's laws could feel in 
wasting the stores which Nature so bountifully 
opens for our need. I am not in favor of " game 
laws," passed for the most part in the interest of 
the few and the rich, to the deprivation of the 
poor and the many, but I would that fine and 
imprisonment both might be the punishment of 
him who, in defiance of every humane instinct 
and reverential feeling, out of mere love for 
"sport," as some are pleased to call it, directs a 



WHAT IT COSTS. 21 

ball or hooks a fish when no necessity demands 
it. Such ruthless destruction of life is slaughter, — 
coarse, cruel, unjustifiable butchery. Palliate it 
who may, practise it who can, it is just that and 
nothing short. To sum up what I have thus far 
written, I say to all brother sportsmen, that, all 
things considered, the sporting, both with rifle and 
rod, in the North Woods is good, — good enough 
to satisfy any reasonable desire. In this, please 
remember that I refer to the wilderness proper, 
and not to the lumbered and inhabited and there- 
fore over-hunted borders of it. I have known 
parties to take board at North Elba, or Malone, or 
Luzerne, and yet insist that they " had been into 
the Adirondacks." 



WHAT IT COSTS. 

This I know to some is a matter of no interest 
at, all, but to others, among whom, unfortunately, 
the writer must number himself, it is a matter 
of vital importance. The committee on "ways 
and means " in our " house " is the most laborious 
of all, and the six years a little woman has held 
the chairmanship of it has made her exceedingly 
cautiou.s and conservative. Some very interest- 
ing debates occur before this committee, and no 
demur on the part of the defeated party, as I have 



22 AJ)VENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

often found, can cliange the unalterable decision. 
What is true in the case of the writer is largely 
true in respect to the majority of the profession 
to which he belongs. Yet it is in the ministry 
that you find tlie very men who would be the 
most benefited by this trip. Whether they should 
go as sportsmen or tourists, or in both capacities, a 
visit to the North Woods could not fail of giving 
them precisely such a change as is most desirable, 
and needed by them. In the wilderness they 
would find that perfect relaxation which all jaded 
minds require. In its vast solitude is a total 
absence of sights and sounds and duties, which 
keep the clergyman's brain and heart strung up, 
the long year through, to an intense, unnatural, 
and often fatal tension. There, from a thousand 
sources of invigoration, flow into the exhausted 
mind and enfeebled body currents of strength and 
life. There sleep woos you as the shadows deepen 
along the lake, and retains you in its gentle em- 
brace until frightened away by the guide's merry 
call to breakfast. You would be astonished to 
learn, if I felt disposed to tell you, how many con- 
secutive hours a certain minister sleeps during 
the first week of his annual visit to the woods ! 
Ah me, the nights I have passed in the woods I 
How they haunt me with their sweet, suggestive 
memories of silence and repose ! How harshly the 
steel-shod hoofs smite against the flinty pavement 



WHAT IT COSTS. 23 

beneath my window, and clash with rude inter- 
ruptions upon my ear as I sit recalling the tran- 
quil hours I have spent beneath the trees ! What 
restful slumber was mine ; and not less gently 
than the close of day itself did it fall upon me, 
as I stretched myself upon my bed of balsam- 
boughs, with Rover at my side, not twenty feet 
from the shore where the ripples were playing 
eoyly w^ith the sand, and lulled by the low mono- 
tone of the pines, whose branches were my only 
shelter from the dew which gathered like gems 
upon their spear-like stems, sank, as a falling star 
fades from sight, into forgetfulness. And then the 
waking ! The air fresh with the aroma of the 
wilderness. The morning blowing its perfumed 
breezes into your face. The drip, drip of the 
odorous gum in the branches overhead, and the 
colors of russet, of orange, and of gold streaking 
the eastern sky. After three or four nights of 
such slumber, the sleeper realizes the force and 
beauty of the great poet's apostrophe, — 

" Sleep, that knits up the ravelled sleave of care, 
The death of each day's life, sore lahor's bath. 
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, 
Ohief nourisher in life's feast." 

If every church would make up a purse, and 
pack its worn and weary pastor off to the 
North Woods for a four weeks' jaunt, in the 
hot months of July and August, it would do a 



24 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

very sensible as well as pleasant act. For when 
the good dominie came back swarth and tough 
as an Indian, elasticity in his step, fire in his eye, 
depth and clearness in his reinvigomted voice, 
would n't there be some preaching ! And what 
texts he would have from which to talk to the 
little folks in the Sabbath school ! How their 
bright eyes would open and enlarge as he narrated 
his adventures, and told them how the good 
Father feeds the fish that swim, and clothes the 
mink and beaver with their warm and sheeny fur. 
The preacher sees God in the original there, and 
often translates him better from his unwritten 
works than from his written word. He wdll get 
more instructive spiritual material from such 
a trip than from all the " Sabbath-school festi- 
vals " and " pastoral tea-parties " wdth wdiich the 
poor, smiling creature was ever tormented. It is 
astonishing how much a loving, spiritually-minded 
people can bore their minister. If I had a spite 
against any clerical brother, and felt wicked 
enough to indulge it, I would get his Sabbath- 
school superintendent, a female city missionary, 
and several " local visitors," with an agent of some 
Western college thrown in for A^riety, and set 
them all on to him ! 

"But how much does it cost to take such a 
trip ? " I hear some good deacon inquire ; " perhap.* 
we may feel disposed to take your advice." 



WHAT IT COSTS. 25 

Well, I will tell you; and I shall make a 
liberal estimate, for I do not think it hurts a 
minister to travel in comfortable style any more 
than it does Mr. Farewell and Brother Have- 
enough. And if he shall chance to find a ten- 
dollar greenback in his vest-pocket after he has 
reached home it will not come amiss, I warrant 
you. 

I estimate the cost thus : — 

Guide-hire, $2.50 per day; board for self and 
guide while in the woods, S 2.00 each per week ; 
miscellanies (here is where the ten-dollar green- 
backs come in), $ 25.00. 

If he feels disposed to take a companion, he can 
do so (many go in couples), and thereby divide 
the cost of guide-hire, making it only $ 1.25 
per day. But I would not advise one to do this, 
especially if his expenses are paid. Fifty dollars 
will pay one's travelling expenses both ways, 
from Boston to the Lower Saranac Lake, wdiere 
you can meet your guide. From New York the 
expense is about the same. It is safe to say that 
one hundred and twenty-five dollars will pay all 
the expenses of a trip of a month's duration in the 
wilderness. I know of no otlier excursion in 
which such a small sum of money will return 
such per cent in health, pleasure, and profit. 



26 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 



OUTFIT. 

There is no one rule by whicli to be governed 
in this respect. Personal tastes anJ means con- 
trol one in this matter. Generally speaking, outfits 
are too elaborate and cumbersome. Some men go 
into the woods as if they were to pass the winter 
within the polar circle, supplied witli fur caps, 
half a dozen pair of gloves, heavy overcoat, three 
or four thick blankets, and any amount of use- 
less impedimenta. Dry-goods clerks and students 
seem to affect this style the most. I remember run- 
ning against a pair of huge alligator-leather boots, 
leaning against a tree, one day Avlien crossing the 
" Carry " from Forked Lake around the rapids, 
and upon examination discovered a young under- 
graduate of a college not a thousand miles from 
Boston inside of them. It was about the middle 
of August, and the thermometer si^ood at 90° 
Fahrenheit. Some half a mile farther on we met 
the guide sweating and swearing under a pack of 
blankets, rubber suits, and the like, heavy enough 
to frighten a tramping Jew-pedler ; and he declared 
that " that confounded Boston fool had brought in 
a hoat-load of clothes^' which we found to be nigh 
to the truth when we reached the end of the 
" carry," where the canoe was. Now" I wish that 
every reader who may visit the Adirondacks, 
male or female, would remember that a good- 



OUTFIT. 27 

sized valise or carpet-])ag will hold all the clothes 
any one person needs for a two months' trip in the 
wilderness, beyond what he wears in. Be sure 
to wear and take in nothing but woollen and 
flannel. The air at night is often quite cool, even 
in midsummer, and one must dress warmly. The 
following list comprises the " essentials " : — 

Complete undersuit of woollen or flannel, with a 
" change." 

Stout pantaloons, vest, and coat. 

Felt hat. 

Two pairs of stockings. 

Pair of common winter boots and camp shoes. 

liubber blanket or coat. 

One pair pliable buckskin gloves, with chamois- 
skin gauntlets tied or buttoned at tlie elbow. 

Hunting-knife, belt, and a pint tin cup. 

To these are to be added a pair of warm woollen 
blankets, uncut, and a few articles of luxury, such 
as towel, soap, etc. The above is a good service 
able outfit, and, with tlie exception of the blan- 
kets, can readily be packed in a carpet-bag, which 
;s easily stowed in the boat and carried over the 
" portages." In this connection, it should be re- 
membered that the Adirondack boats, while being 
models of lightness and speed, are small, and will 
not bear overloading. On the average they are 
some fifteen feet long, three feet wide at the mid- 
dle, sharp at both ends, some ten inches deep. 



28 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

and weigh from sixty to ninety pounds. Small 
and liglit as these boats are, they will sustain 
three men and all they really need in the way of 
baggage, but it is essential, as the reader can see, 
that no unnecessary freight be taken along by a 
party. Xothing is better calculated to make a 
guide cross and sour than an over-supply of per- 
sonal baggage, and I advise all who attempt the 
trip to confine themselves very nearly to the 
above list. They will find that it is abundant. 

For sporting outfit, this will suffice : — 

One rifle and necessary ammunition. 

One light, single-handed fly-rod, with " flies." 

For rifles I prefer the " Ballard " or " Maynard " 
amonsf breech-loaders. No shot-g-uns should be 
taken. They are a nuisance and a pest. 

In respect to " flies," do not overload your 
book. This is a good assortment : — 

Hackles, black, red, and brown, six each. 

Avoid small hooks and imported " French flies." 

Let the " flies " be made on hooks from Nos. 3 
to 1, Limerick size. 

All " fancy flies " discard. They are good for 
nothing generally, unless it be to show to your 
lady friends. In addition to the " Hackles," 

Canada fly (6), — an excellent fly. 

Green drake (6). 

Ked ibis (6). 

Small salmon flies (6), - — best of all. 



OUTFIT. 29 

If in the fall of the year, take 

English blue-jay (6). 

Gray drake (6), — good. 

Last, but not least, a large, stoutly woven land- 
ing-net. 

This is enough. I know that what I say touch^ 
ing the salmon flies Avill astonish some, but* I do 
not hesitate to assert that with two dozen small- 
sized salmcn flies I should feel myself well pro- 
vided for a six weeks' sojourn in the wilderness- 
Of course you can add to the above list many 
serviceable flies ; my own book is stocked with a 
dozen dozens of all sizes and colors, but the above 
is a good practical outfit, and all one really needs. 

If you are unaccustomed to "fly fishing," and 
prefer to " grul3 it " with ground bait (and good 
sport can be had with bait fishing too), get two or 
three dozens short-shanked, good-sized hooks, hand 
tied to strong crcam-Q,o\oYQ& snells, and you are 
well provided. If you can find worms, they make 
the best bait ; if not, cut out a strip from a chub, 
and, loading your line with shot, yank it along 
through the water some foot or more under the sur- 
face, as when fishing for pickerel. I have had trout 
many times rise and take such a bait, even when 
skittered along on tlie top of the water. To every 
fly-fisher my advice is, be sure and take plenty of 
casting-lines. Have some six, others nine feet 
long There are lines made out of " sea snell." 



30 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

These are the best. Never select a bright, glisten- 
ing gut. Always search for the creamy looking 
ones. The entire outfit need not cost (rod ex- 
cepted) over ten dollars, and for all practical 
purposes is as good as one costing a hundred. 



WHERE TO BUY TACKLE. 

In Fe w York, go to Conroy, Bissett, & Malleson , 
Fulton Street. This house is noted for its rods. 
No better single-handed fly-rod can be had than 
you can obtain at Conroy's. A rod of three pieces, 
twelve feet long, and weighing from nine to 
twelve ounces, is my favorite. A fashion has 
sprung up to fasten the reel on close to the butt, 
dO that when casting you must needs grip the rod 
above the reel. This is a great error in construc- 
tion. Never buy one thus made. The reel should 
be good eio'ht inches from the butt, and thus 
leave plenty of hand-room below it. At Con- 
roy's you can obtain such a rod, brass mounted, 
for some fifteen dollars ; in German-silver mount- 
ings, for seventeen. At other houses, for the very 
same or an inferior article I have been charged 
from twenty to . twenty-five dollars. The first rod 
I ever bought at Conroy's, some six years ago, 
was a brass-mounted one, such as described above, 
which T used constantly for four years, but which 
I saw, on an evil day, go into four pieces, in a 



WHERE TO BUY TACKLE, 31 

narrow creek, when I gave the butt to two large 
fish in full bolt for a snarl of tamarack-roots. 
Many a time have I seen that rod doubled up 
until the quivering tip lay over the reel. I paid 
fourteen dollars and fifty cents for it. I would 
like to pay three times that sum for another like 
it. If you want a rod that you can rely on, go 
to Conroy's in Fulton Street and buy one of his 
single-handed fly-rods. 

If in Boston, William Eead and Son's, No. 13 
Faneuil Hall Square, is a good house to deal with. 
Being less acquainted in Boston than in New York, 
I cannot speak with such directness as I can con- 
cerning Conroy's. But having looked over Mr. 
Read's stock, I am quite persuaded that you can 
be as well served with rods by him as by any 
house in the country, Conroy always excepted. 
If I was buying in Boston, for my rod I should 
go to Read's. In respect to price, I am inclined 
to think that he sells the same class of rods cheaper 
than the New York house. I saw some rods at Mr. 
Read's the other day for tioelve dollars, equal in all 
respects, so far as I could see, (and I tested them 
thoroughly,) to the rods for which Conroy charges 
fifteen dollars. At the same time I examined 
some split bamboo rods, price twenty-five dollars, 
for which many dealers in fishing-tackle, in New 
York, and perhaps some in Boston, would be likely 
*o demand nearly twice that sum. Of course this 



32 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

firm is too well known to the sporting world foi 
me to mention that, for a thorough hunting outfit, 
you can do no better than to go to this house. 

For flies I advise you to go to Bradford and 
Anthony, 178 Washington Street. I am inclined to 
think that this house, in quantity, style, variety, 
and finish, excel even Conroy. I have looked 
their assortment over carefully, and know not 
where to find its equal. AVherever you buy, 
never purchase an imported fly. The French 
flies, especially, are most unreliable. Never put 
one in your book. Select only such as are tied to 
soft, cream-colored snells. The same holds good in 
respect to casting-lines or leaders. Beware of such 
as have a bright, glassy glitter about them. They 
will fail you on your best fish, and you will lose 
^ies, fish, and temper together. For your lines I 
suggest, first, last, and always, braided silk. Be- 
ware of hair and silk lines. Formerly I had a 
great passion for fancy lines, but years of ex- 
perience have caused me to settle down in favor 
of the braided silk line as superior to every other. 



GUIDES. 

This is the most important of all considerations 
to one about to visit the wilderness. An ignorant, 
lazy, low-bred guide is a nuisance in camp and 
useless everywhere else. A skilful, active, well- 



GUIDES. 33 

mannered guide, on the other hand, is x ^oy and 
consolation, a source of constant pleasure to the 
whole party. With an ignorant guide you will 
starve ; with a lazy one you will lose your temper ; 
with a low-bred fellow you can have no comfort. 
Fortunate in the selection of your guide, you will 
be fortunate in everything you undertake clean 
through the trip. A good guide, like a good wife, 
is indispensable to one's success, pleasure, and 
peace. If I were to classify such guides as are 
nuisances, I should place at the head of the list 
the " witty guide." He is forever talking. He 
inundates the camp with gab. If you chance to 
have company, he is continually thrusting himself 
impertinently forward. He is possessed from head 
to foot with the idea that he is smart. He can 
never open his mouth unless it is to air his opin- 
ions or perpetrate some stale joke. He is always 
v^ulgar, not seldom profane. Avoid him as you 
would the plague. 

Next in order comes the " talkative guide." 
The old Indian maxim, " Much talk, no hunt," I 
have found literally verified. A true hunter talks 
little. The habit of his skill is silence. In camp 
or afloat he is low- voiced and reticent. I have 
met but one exception to this rule. I will not 
name him, lest it give pain. He is a good hunter 
and a capital guide, in spite of his evil tendency 
to gab. This tendency is vicious in many ways. 
8* c 



34 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

It is closely allied with that other vice, — hragging. 
Such a guide in a large party is apt to breed 
dispute and difference. He is very liable to give 
the gentleman who employs him the impression 
that others in the party are striving to " get ahead 
of him." Moreover, he is always interrupting you 
when you do not want to be interrupted. Silence, 
which is a luxury found only in the wilderness, 
flees dip his approach. Beware of tlie talkative 
guide. 

The next in order, and the last I shall men- 
tion, is the "lazy guide." Such a guide is the 
most vexatious creature you can have around. 
Nothing short of actual experience with one can- 
give you an adequate impression. Now, a guide's 
duties, while not absolutely laborious, are neverthe- 
less multiform. To discharge them well, a man 
should have a brisk, cheerful temperament and a 
certain pride in his calling. He should be quick, 
inventive, and energetic. AVith these qualities 
even ordinarily developed, a man makes a good 
^ide ; without them he is intolerable. A lazy 
guide is usually in appearance fleshy, lymphatic, 
dirty, and often well advanced in years. As a 
rule, avoid an old guide as you would an old horse. 
His few years' extra experience, compared to a 
younger man, cannot make good the decline of his 
powers and the loss of his ambition. A young, 
active fellow of thirty, with his reputation to make, 



GUIDES. 35 

is worth two who are fifty and egotistical. The 
worst sight I ever saAV in the woods, the exhibi- 
tion which stirred me most, was the spectacle of a 
fat, lazy lout of a guide lying on his stomach, read- 
ing a dime novel, while the gentleman who hired 
him was building " smudges." If he had been 
my guide, I would have smudged him ! The " wit- 
ty," " talkative," and " lazy guide " are the three 
hindrances to a party's happiness. If you find 
yourself or party burdened with either species, 
admonish kindly but firmly ; and if this mild appli- 
cation will not suffice, turn him mercilessly adrift, 
and post him hy name on your way out, at every 
camp and hotel, as an imposition and a pest. 
Make an example of one or two, and the rest would 
take the hint. Every respectable and worthy 
guide will thank you for it, and your conscience 
will have peace as over a duty fulfilled. 

For the most part the " independent guides " 
are models of skill, energy, and faithfulness. I 
say " independent," to distinguish the class so 
called from another class yclept " hotel guides." 
The difference between the two classes is this : 
the " hotel guides " are paid so much per month 
by the hotel-keepers, and by them furnished to 
their boarders and such as come unprovided. This 
system is faulty in many respects. The " hotel 
guide " is not responsible to the party for its suc- 
cess, and therefore is not quickened to make his 



36 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

• 

best endeavor. He has no reputation to make, ah 
has the independent guide, for his service is se- 
cured to him for the season, by virtue of his con- 
nection witli tlie hotel. Furthermore, the " hotel 
guide" is often unemployed for weeks if the sea- 
son is dull; and, hanging around a frontier hotel 
in daily proximity to the bar, is very liable to be'; 

get that <^reatest of all vices in a ojuide, — drunhhu 

. o ,^,. ,.f ,;., oniM 

ness. If, on the other hand, the season is a crowded 
one, the proprietor finds it difficult, to. secure 
guides enough for his guests, and so must needs 
content himself with men totally unfit for tfie 
service. Thus it often happens that a party taking 
their guides at the hands of the landlord finds, 
when too late, that out of half a . dozen guides, 
only one is capable, while the others are mere 
make-shifts, the good guide being sent along as a 
teacher and " boss " of the raw hands. J do not 
say that there are no good guides among those 
known as hotel guides, for there are ; but as a ciass 
they are far inferior in character, skill, an^ .habits 
to the others. 

The independent guides, so called, are, as a 
wdiole, a capable and noble class of men. They 
know their calliiig thoroughly, and can be relied 
on. They have no other indorsement than such 
as the parties to wdiich they act as guides give them ; 
and as their chances of subsequent service depend 
upon their present success, they are stimulated to 



GUIDES. 37 

the \itmost to excel. Between these and the hotel 
guides there exists a rivalry, and I might employ 
a stronger term. The independent guide feels, 
and is not slow to assert, his superiority. He is 
justified in doing it. The system of hotel guiding 
is wrong in theory and pernicious in practice. 
Every guide should be immediately responsible to 
the party hiring him. His chances of future em- 
ployment should depend upon his present success. 
This is the only natural, simple, and equitable 
method. It is beneficial to both parties. The 
sportsman is well served ; and the guide, if he is 
faithful, secures constant employment from season 
to season. Many of the best guides are engaged 
a year in advance. 

I cannot let this opportunity pass unimproved 
of testifying to the capacity, skill, and faithfulness 
of a great majority of the guides through the 
Adirondack region. With many I am personally 
acquainted, and rejoice to number them among my 
friends. I have seen them under every circum- 
stance of exposure and trial, of feasting and hun- 
ger, of health and sickness, and a more honest, 
cheerful, and patient class of men cannot be found 
the world over. Born and bred, as many of them 
were, in this wilderness, skilled in all the lore of 
woodcraft, handy with the rod, superb at' the pad- 
dle, modest in demeanor and speech, honest to a 
proverb, they deserve and receive the admiration 



38 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

of all wlio make tlieir acquaintance. Bronzed 
and hardy, fearless of danger, eager to please, un- 
contaminated with the vicious habits of civilized 
life, they are not unworthy of the magnificent sur- 
roundings amid which they dwell. Among them 
an oath is never heard, unless in moments of 
intense excitement. Vulgarity of speech is abso- 
lutely unknown, and theft a matter of horror and 
surprise. Measured by our social and intellectual 
facilities, their lot is lowly and uninviting, and yet 
to them there is a charm and fascination in it. 
Under the base of these overhanging mountains 
they were born. Upon the waters of these se- 
cluded lakes they have sported from earliest boy- 
hood. The wilderness has -unfolded to them its 
mysteries, and made them wise with a wdsdom no- 
where written in books. This wilderness is their 
home. Here they w^ere born, here have they lived, 
and here it is that they expect to die. Their 
graves will be made under the pines where in 
childhood they played, and the sounds of wdnd 
and w^ave which lulled them to sleep when boys 
will swell the seKsame cadences in requiem over 
their graves. When they have passed away, tradi- 
tion will prolong their virtues and their fame. 

I am often in reception of letters from gentle- 
men who wish to visit the wilderness, inquiring 
the names of guides to whom they can write for 
the purpose of engaging their services. I have 



GUIDES. 39 

been prompted to publish the following list in 
answer to such correspondence. I do not wish 
any to understand that the list is perfect, contain- 
ing the names of all the good guides, for it does 
not. It contains the names of such as, through 
personal acquaintance or reliable information, I 
know to be worthy of patronage. Others, not 
mentioned here, there may be equally reliable. I 
make no invidious comparison in this selection. I 
seek only to give such as may be about to visit 
the region the names of certain guides to whom 
they can write with confidence, and whom, if they 
secure, they may deem themselves fortunate. 

Long Lake Guides, or those whose Post-OJice Address 
is Long Lake, Hamilton County, N. Y. 

John E. Plumbley, John Eobinson, 

Jerry Plumbley, Amos Eobinson, 

Amos Hough, Michael Sabatis and Sons, 

Henry Stanton, Alonzo Wood, 

Isaac Robinson, Reuben Gary. 

Lovjer Saranac Guides. 

Stephen Martin, Duglass Dunning, 

James McClellan, Georf^e Rinor, 

Lute Evans, Daniel L. Moody, 

Harvey Moody, Mark Clough, 

John King, Reuben Reynolds, 



40 ADVENTURES TN THE WILDERNESS. 

George Sweeny, Alonzo Dudley, 

William Eing, Daniel Moody. 

Post-office address. 

Lower Saranac, Franklin County, N. Y. 

St. Regis Guides. 
I can recall the names of only three. 
Seth Warner, Stephen Turner, 

David Sweeny. . 
Post-office address, 

St. Regis, Franklin County, N. Y. 

Concerning the guides in the " Brown Tract," 
and on tlie western side of the wilderness, around 
the Potsdam region, I know nothing. The Ar- 
nolds, I understand, of the Brown Tract district, 
owing to an unfortunate occurrence last fall, have 
all deserted that section of the country. The 
house their father kept is now unoccupied, and 
whether it will be opened this spring I know not. 



HOW TO GET TO THE WILDERNESS. 

There are several routes which you can take in 
an excursion to the North Woods, but only one or 
two Avhich are easy and practicable for a party 
composed both of ladies and gentlemen. If you 
wish to enter at the southern end of the wilder- 



HOW TO GET THERE. 41 

(.ess, and do your sporting in the Brown Tract 
region, go to Albany and thence to Booneville, from 
which place you can get transported on horseback 
to the first of the chain of lakes known as the 
'• Eioht Lakes." Here was formerly a hotel, known 
as " Arnold's." The Arnold family have now left, 
and I know not if the house is kept open. This 
entrance is not easy for ladies, nor is the region 
into which it brings you at all noted for the beauty 
of its scenery. Still maiiy sj^ortsmen go in this 
way, and to such a class it is a feasible route. You 
can also " go in " via Lake George and Minerva to 
Long Lake, if you choose. The distance is some 
eighty miles by this route, the roads bad, and 
the hotel accommodations poor. Long Lake is a 
good starting-point for a party, as it is situated 
midway of the forest, the centre of magnificent 
scenery, and the home of many guides. All it 
needs to make this route one of the very best is, 
that the roads should be improved, and a good Kne 
of coaches established. But as it now is, it is 
neither practicable nor entirely safe. 

The best route by which to enter the wilderness 
is the following. It is easy and quick. The ac- 
commodations are excellent all the way through. 
I do not know how I can give a true impression of 
this route so briefly as by going, in imagination, 
with the reader, from Boston to the Lower Saranac, 
where I meet my guide. I leave Boston Monday 



42 ADVENTURES IX THE WILDERNESS. 

m(.)rniii '•, we will say, at eight o'clock, on the Bos- 
ton and Al])any Eaih\jad. xVt East Albany we con- 
nect witli the Troy train ; at Troy, with the Sara- 
toga train, which lands you at the steamboat dock 
at Whitehall, Lake Champlain, at nine o'clock, 
p. M. Going on board you sit down to a dinner, 
abundant in quantity and well ser^'ed ; after which 
you retire to your state-room, or, if so inclined, roll 
an arm-chair to the hurricane deck, and enjoy that 
rarest of treats, a steamboat excursion on an inland 
lake by moonlight. At 4.30 A. M. you are oppo- 
site Burlington, Vt., and by the time you are 
dressed the boat glides alongside of the dock at 
Port Kent, on the New York side of the lake. 
You enter a coach wliich stands in waiting, and, 
after a ride of six miles in the cool morning air, 
you alight at the Ausable House, Keeseville. Here 
you array yourself for the woods, and, eating a 
hearty breakfast, you seat yourself in the coach at 
7 A. M., the whip cracks, the horses spring, and you 
are off on a fifty-six mile ride over a plank road, 
which brings you, at 5 P. M., to Martin's, on the 
Lower Saranac, where your guide, with his narrow 
shell drawn up upon the l)each, stands waiting you. 
This is the sliortest, easiest, and, beyond all odds, 
the best route to the Adirondacks. You leave 
Boston or Xew York IVIonday at 8 A. M., and reach 
your guide Tuesday at 5 P. M. So perfect are the 
connections on this route, that, having engaged 



HOW TO GET THERE. 43 

"John " to meet me a year from a certain day, at 
5 p. M., on the Lower Saranac, I have rolled up to 
"Martin's" and jumped from the coach as the 
faithful fellow, equally " on time," Avas in the act 
of pulling his narrow boat up the beach. It is not 
only easy and quick, but the cheapest route also, 
and takes you tlirough some of the sublimest 
scenery in the world. At Keeseville, if you wish, 
you can turn off to the left toward North Elba, 
and visit that historic grave in which the martyr of 
the nineteenth century sleeps, with a boulder of 
native granite for his tombstone, and the cloud- 
covered peaks of Whiteface and Marcy to the 
north and south, towering five thousand feet above 
his head. By all means stop here a day. It will 
better you to stand a few moments over John 
Brown's grave, to enter the house he built, to see 
the fields he and his heroic boys cleared, the 
fences they erected and others standing incomplete 
as they left them when they started for Harper's 
Ferry. What memories, if you are an American, 
will throng into your head as you stand beside 
that mound and traverse those fields ! You will 
continue your journey a better man or purer 
woman from even so brief a visit to the grave of 
one whose name is and will ever be a synonyme of 
liberty and jvistice throughout the world. If you 
are mere tourists, and intend going no farther^^wr^^fr 

NtvvroN 



ward than North Elba, stop at Westpoii^bove ^ 



'4«;Si. 



44 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

Crown Point, and take stage to your destination. 
At a Mr. Helmer's (I think that is tlie name) yoii 
will find all necessary accommodation. If you are 
_going into the wilderness, it is better to engage 
your transportation from Keeseville in advance, in 
order to prevent delay. To this end you can ad- 
dress the proprietor of the Ausable House, Keese- 
ville, or W. F. Martin, keeper of " Martin's," as it is 
familiarly known to sportsmen at the Lower Sara-' 
nac. This is the direct route also to reach Pan! 
Smith's, at the St. Kegis Lake. Another route, — 
a new one just opened, wdiich I have never tried, — 
is via Plattsburgh, by which you can go by rail t^ 
a point within thirty miles of " Martin's." Addres« 
W. F. Martin for particulars. 



HOTELS. 

This subject I shall dismiss with a brief allusion. 
Paul Smith, or " Pol," as he is more commonly 
known among the guides, is proprietor of the St. 
Eegis House. This is the St. James of the wilder- 
ness. Here Saratoga trunks and Saratoga belles are 
known. Here they have civilized " hops," and 
that modern prolongation of the ancient war-whoop 
modified and improved, called " operatic singing," 
in the parlors. Tn spite of all this, it is a capital 
bouse, with a good reputation, well deserved 



HOTELS. 45 

" Bartlett's " is situated on the carry between 
Round Lake and the Upper Saranac. This house 
is well kept. The rooms are neatly furnished, the 
service at the tables slightly suggestive of " style." 
The proprietor is a brisk, business-like-looking man, 
pleasant and accommodating. I have never seen 
or heard aught to his discredit, and much in his 
praise. Many gentlemen leave their wives and 
children here wliile they are in the wilderness 
sporting. This house is conveniently located, and 
within easy reach of excellent hunting-ground. I 
..heartily recommend it to public patronage. 

''Mother Johnsons." — This is a " half-way house." 
-It is at the lower end of the carry, below Long Lake. 
Jfeyer pass it without dropping in. Here it is 
jtjiat you find such pancakes as are rarely met with. 
.HerCj in a log-house, hospitality can be found such 
as might shame many a city mansion. Never 
shall I forget the- meal that John and I ate one 
night at that pine table. We broke camp at 8 
A. M., and reached Mother Johnson's at 11.45 P. M., 
having eaten nothing but a hasty lunch on the 
way. Stumbling up to the door amid a chorus of 
noises, such as only a kennel of hounds can send 
forth, we aroused the venerable couple, and at 1 
A. M. sat down to a meal whose quantity and qual- 
ity are worthy of tradition. Now, most house- 
keepers would have grumbled at being summoned 
to entertain travellers at such an unseasonable 



46 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

hour. Xot so with Mother Johnson. Bless hex 
soul, how her fat, good-natured face glowed with 
delight as she saw us empty those dishes ! How 
her countenance shone and sides shook with laugh- 
ter as she passed the smoking, russet-colored cakes 
from her griddle to our only half-emptied plates. 
For some time it was a close race, and victory 
trembled in the balance ; but at last John and I 
surrendered, and, dropping our knives and forks, and 
shoving back our chairs, we cried, in the language 
of another on the eve of a direr conflict, " Hold, 
enough !" and the good old lady, still happy and 
radiant, laid down her ladle and retired from her 
benevolent labor to her slumbers. Never go by 
Mother Johnson's without tasting her pancakes, 
and, when you leave, leave with her an extra dollar. 
" Uncle rainier s " is at Long Lake, and com- 
mands a ^'iew of lake and mountain scenery 
rarely surpassed. There are many houses open to 
Q'uests in the wilderness more ostentatious ; but for 
downright solid comfort commend me to " Uncle 
Palmer's." The table is well supplied ; the cuisine 
is excellent ; the beds neat and clean ; the location 
central. Mr. Palmer is one of the most honest, 
genial, and accommodating men whom I have 
ever met. His wife is active, pleasant, and moth- 
erly. Both are full of the spirit of true kindness, 
and sympathetic in all their words and acts. You 
may be a total stranger, but no sooner are you 



HOTELS. 47 

faii'ly inside the house than you feel yourself per- 
fectly at home. In this neighborhood live John 
Plunibley, and his brother Jerry, Amos Hough, 
Henry Stanton, Isaac Kobinson and boys, Michael 
Sabatis and sons, and many others of the very 
bcjt guides in the wilderness. Sabatis keeps a 
hotel on the shore of the lake, and at his house 
many sportsmen resort. I have heard it well 
spoken of, l)ut cannot speak from experience, as I 
never -had the pleasure of stopping over there. 
On the whole, I do not hesitate to say that Long 
Lake is, in my opinion, the best rendezvous of the 
wilderness, and L^ncle Palmer's long table the 
very best spot to find yourself when hungry and 
tired. 

" Martin sr — This is the last house of which 
I shall speak. It is located on Lower Saran.ic, at 
the terminus of the stage route from Keeseville. It 
is, therefore, tlie most convenient point at which to 
meet your guides. Its appointments are thorough 
and complete. JNIartin is one of the few men in 
the world who seem to know how "to keep a 
hotel." At his house you can easily and cheaply 
obtain your entire outfit for a trip of any length. 
Here it is that the celebrated Long Lake guides 
witli their unrivalled boats, principally resort. 
Here, too, many of the Saranac guides, some of 
them surpassed by none, make their head-(|uarters. 
Mr. Martin, as a host, is good-natured and gen- 



48 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

tlemanly. His table is abundantly provided, 
not only with the necessaries, but also with 
many of the luxuries, of diet. The charges are 
moderate, and the accommodations for families, as 
well as sporting parties, in every respect ample. 
" Martin's " is a favorite resort to all who have ever 
once visited it, and stands deservedly high in public 
estimation. 



WHEN TO VISIT THE WILDERNESS. 

The purpose for which you go, and the character 
of the sporting ycTu desire, should decide this 
point. If you desire river fishing for spotted 
trout, and trolling for the lake trout, some of which 
grow to weigh from twenty to thirty pounds, you 
should go in during the month of May or June. 
The objection to this time lies in the fact that the 
wilderness is w^et and cold at this season of the 
year, when the snow is barely melted, the portages 
muddy and unpleasant, and the " black flies " in 
multitudinous numbers. 

These objections, to my mind, are insurmounta- 
ble. No ladies should go into the wilderness 
sooner than the middle of June. If you want to 
see autumnal scenery, unsurpassed by any the 
world over, and hear the " music of the hounds " 
in full cry after that noblest of all game for dogs, 



WHEN TO VISIT THE WILDERNESS. 49 

the antlered buck in swift career, go in during the 
month of September, and remain until snow and 
the cold drive you out. 

My favorite season is in midsummer. I go in 
early in July, and remain for about two months. 
Late in June or early in July the "black fly" 
disappears. The wilderness is dry, and the climate 
is delightful. The thermometer stands at about 
seventy-five or eighty degrees. The portages are 
in good condition, the water not high, the lily and 
marsh flowers in bloom. The fishing is excellent. 
The trout have left the rapids and the upper por- 
tions of the streams, and gathered in great num- 
bers at the " spring-holes," the location of which 
your guide is supposed to know, if not, he can 
easily, if he understands his business, ascertain. 
No better fishing can be found than spring-hole 
fishing, which you will find carefully described in 
the chapter entitled " The Nameless Creek." As 
for hunting, the sport is excellent during these two 
months. July is the best month for Jack or night 
shooting, — the most exciting of all shooting. The 
bucks by this time are in good condition, and not 
over-shy. These are the only months when you 
have shore-shooting, as it is called ; that is, when 
you see deer feeding in broad daylight, and take 
them from the open boat at a good, easy range, — - 
say from twenty to thirty rods. This is what I 
call good, honest sport, r^nd not slaughter, as when 

^ D 



50 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

the dog drives a deer into the lake, and, rowing 
up beside the poor frightened and struggling thing, 
the guide holds him by the tail while you blow 
his brains out ! Bah ! I should be ashamed to 
ever look along the sights of a rifle again if T had 
ever disgraced myself with any such " sporting " (!) 
as that ! At this time of the year rain-storms are 
unknown in this region, and the thunder-showers 
which occur are a source of pleasure, and not of 
inconvenience, to a camp. Xo more sublime sight 
can the eye behold tlian is presented to it when 
such a showier passes over these mountains. 



HEALTHFULNESS OF CAMP LIFE. 

I am often asked if ladies would not " catch cold " 
in the woods, and if the physical exertion which 
one must put forth is not such as to forbid that 
any but robust people should undertake the trip. 
To this T reply that I belie^'e it to be a physical 
impossibility for one, however fragile or delicate, 
to " catch cold " in this wilderness. Eemember 
that you are here in a mountainous region, where 
dampness and miasma, such as prevail in lower 
sections, are entirely unknown. Co;nsider, too, 
how genial and equable is the climate in the 
summer months, and how pure and rarefied the 
atmosphere. Remember, also, that you breathe an 



HEALTHFULNESS OF CAMP LIFE. 51 

air odorous with the smell of pine and cedar and 
balsam, and absolutely free from the least taint of 
impurity ; and when you take all this into account, 
you will see how very dissimilar are the conditions 
and surroundings of life in the woods to life in the 
city or village. Acquainted as I am with many 
ladies, some of them accustomed to every luxury, 
and of delicate health, who have " camped out " in 
this wilderness, I have yet to meet with a single 
one who ever " caught cold," or experienced any 
other inconvenience to the bodily health in the 
woods. 

As to the " physical exertion," there is no such 
exertion known here. It is the laziest of all 
imaginable places, if you incline to indolence. 
Tramping is unknown in this region. AVherever 
you wish to go your guide paddles you. Your 
hunting, fishing, sight-seeing, are all done from the 
boat. Going in or coming out you cross the neces- 
sary carries, which, for the most part, are short and 
good walking, and you can take your own time for 
it. In this I refer, of course, to the most frequent- 
ed parts of the wilderness, and not to the portions 
seldom visited and more difficult of access. There 
are sections which I have visited by dragging my 
cedar shell behind me up narrow creeks and througK 
tamarack swamps, middle deep in mud and water ; 
but no guide would think of taking a party, unless 
urged by the party itself, into any such region ; and 



52 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

ordinarily speaking, there is no need of exertion 
which a cliild of five summers could not safely put 
fortli, from one end to the other of a trip. 



WHAT SECTIONS TO VISIT. 

If you go in by way of the Saranacs, do not 
camp down in that section as some do, but pass 
over Indian Carry, through the Spectacle Lakes and 
Eamshorn Creek (called by some Stony Creek), 
into the Kacquette Eiver. Then turn up or down 
as you please. If you desire to see some of the 
finest scenery imaginable, pass up the Eacquette to 
Long Lake, and, when some two miles up the lake, 
turn your face toward the north, and you will be- 
liold what is worth the entire journey to see. 
Then go on, and do not camp until you do so on the 
southern or western shore of Eacquette Lake. Here 
you will find good sporting and scenery unsur- 
passed. Build here your central camp, and, as soon 
as you are established, take your boat and go over 
to the " Wood's Place," and from the knoll on 
which the house stands you will gaze upon one of 
the finest water views in the world. Then visit 
Terrace Lodge, on an island to the front and left of 
you, and, climbing up the ledge, you will either find 
the writer there to welcome you, or see where he 
and one better th^.n he have passed many delight- 



WHAT SECTIONS TO VISIT. 58 

ful liours. Only beware how you appropriate it, 
for we have a sort of life-lease on that camp- 
ground, and may appear to claim possession when 
you least expect us. Then paddle to Beaver Bay, 
and find that point in it from which you can 
arouse a whole family of sleeping echoes along 
the western ridge and the heavy woods opposite. 
Then go to Constable Point, and quench your thirst 
at the coolest, sweetest spring of pure water from 
which you ever drank. Go next to the southern 
part of the lake, so hidden behind tlie islands that 
you would never suspect such a lovely sheet of 
w^ater lay beyond, with its two beautiful reaches of 
softly shining sand, one white as silver, the other 
yellow as gold ; and in the waters which lave the 
golden, find the best bathing in the whole wilder- 
ness. Do not leave this region until you have 
made an excursion to that Lake George in minia- 
ture. Blue Mountain Lake, and fill your mind 
with an impression which will remain in memo- 
ry as one of the sweet and never-to-be-forgotten 
recollections of life. When you have retraced 
your progress up, and reached the mouth of Eams- 
horn Creek, keep on down the Eacquette until you 
have swung round to Big Tupper Lake and lunched 
on the sloping ledge over which the outlet of 
Bound Lake and Little Tupper pours its full tide in 
thunder and foam ; and, if it be not too late in the 
season, and you know how to use the rod, you wall 



54 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

raise, amid the frotli and eddies of the falls, some 
of the largest, gamiest, brightest-tinted trout that 
ever gladdened a sportsman's eye. Then, if you are 
robust and full of pluck, force your way over the 
four-mile carry, between the Falls and Eound Lake, 
and, hurrying on through its sluggish waters, do 
not ])ause until you enter the narrow, secluded 
stretch of Little Tupper. But tlie moment you 
enter stop, joint your rod, and noose on your 
strongest leader and largest flies, for you will 
find right there, at the entrance of Bog Creek, 
trout that will put your skill and tackle to the 
severest test. When I passed through that region 
last, I left, as John expressed it, " more than five 
boat-load of fish" in that deep, sluggish pool. 
Houest John Pluml)ley, the ])rince of guides, patient 
as a hound, and as faithful, — a man who knows the 
wilderness as a farmer knows his fields, whose in- 
stinct is never at fault, whose temper is never ruf- 
fled, whose paddle is silent as falling snow, whose 
eye is true along the sights, wliose pancakes are 
the wonder of the woods, — honest, patient, and 
modest John Plumbley, may he live long beyond 
the limit so few of us attain, and depart at last full 
of peace as he will full of honors, God bless him ! 
As you pass out, visit the St. Eegis waters, by 
the way of Big Wolf, and EoUin's Pond, and Long 
Pine, and so circle down to " mine host " at Mar- 
tin's. What a trip you will have had, what won- 



BLACK FLIES. 55 

ders seen, what rare experiences enjoyed ! How 
many evenings will pass on " golden wings " at 
home, as friends draw close their circle around the 
glowing grate, and listen as you rehearse the story 
of your adventures, — shoot over again your " first 
buck," and land -for the hundredth time your " big- 
gest " trout 1 



BLACK FLIES. 

I will speak of these and other nuisances before 
I close, in order to state the exact truth in refer- 
ence to a subject concerning which newspaper and 
magazine writers have given the public an erro- 
neous impression. The spirit of exaggeration, and 
the necessity of " getting up a good article," have 
contributed to the dissemination of " anecdotes " 
and " experiences " which are the merest balderdash 
imaginable. I am prompted, therefore, to make, 
as we were accustomed to say in college, a " plain 
statement of facts," that my readers may know 
precisely how much inconvenience a tourist or 
sportsman is subject to, from this source, among 
the Adirondacks. The black fly, concerning whicli 
so much of the horrible has been ^\^ritten, is a 
small, dark-colored fly, about the size of a red ant. 
Its bite is not severe, nor is it ordinarily poisonous. 
There may be an occasional exception to this rule : 



56 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

but beside the bite of tlie inoo(iiiito it is compara- 
tively mild and liarniless. This fly prevails during 
the month of June and disappears early in July. 
It also invariably retires at the setting of the 
sun, and gives you no more trouble until late in 
the morning. T regard it as one of the most harm- 
less and least vexatious of the insect family. For 
five years my wife and self have camped in the 
wilderness ; we have traversed it near and far, 
sleeping where the night found us, but we have 
never been, to any extent worth mentioning, 
disturbed by its presence. The black fly, as pic- 
tured by " our Adirondack correspondent," like the 
Gorgon of old, is a myth, — a monster existing 
only in men's feverish imaginations. 



MOSQUITOES. 

In some localities these are numerous, but with 
care in the selection of your camp you will 
not be very much troubled. A headland, or a 
point which projects into a lake, over which the 
wind sw^eeps, or, better still, an island, is excel- 
lent ground for a camp, where mosquitoes will 
not embarrass you. 

Gnats can also be avoided by the same care; 
and, in my way of thinking, they are much worse 
than the black fly or mosquito. 



MOSQUITOES. 57 

Against all these insects you can find abundant 
protection. The following precautions, which we 
have adopted with ^complete success, I would recom- 
mend, especially to such of my lady readere as con- 
template a visit to this or any other inland region. 
For the hands, take a pair of common buckskin 
gloves and sew on at the wrists a gauntlet or 
armlet of chamois-skin, reaching to the elbow, 
and tightly buttoned around. Do not leave any 
opening, however small, at the wrist, else the 
gnats may creep up the arm. This gives per- 
fect protection to the hand. For the face, take a 
yard and a half of Swiss mull, and gather it with 
an elastic band into the form of a sack or bag; 
Have the elastic so as to slip over the head, which 
wlien you have done, fix the elastic inside the 
collar-band, and you can laugh defiance at the mos- 
quitoes and gnats. We, in addition to this, take in 
a piece of very fine muslin, some four yards square, 
which, if threatened with gnats or f^ies, having first 
thoroughly smoked the tent or lodge, we drop over 
the front or doorway, and behind its protection sleep 
undisturbed. To sportsmen, and indeed to all, I 
suggest this also. Take in a bottle of sweet oil 
and a vial of tar. These the guide will mix, and 
with a small bottle of the compound in your pock^ 
et you can go and come night or day as you please. 
All manner of insects abhor the smell of tar. 
When, therefore, you have need to fish or hunt or 
3* 



58 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

journey where they may be expec^ted, pour out a 
little into the palm of your haud and anoint your 
face with it. To most persons the. scent of ta:^' is 
not offensive, and the mixture washes off on the 
first application of soap and water, leaving no trace 
or taint. To reconcile my lady readers to it, I 
may add, that it renders the skin soft and smooth 
as an infant's. 

I have mentioned these various, protections, not 
because we often resort to them, but simply from 
a desire to furnish my readers .ample knowledge 
for every emergency. Last -summer we were in 
the wilderness nearly two months, but suffered 
more in the first two weeks after our return, in a 
city in Connecticut, than during our entire stay in 
the woods. Care in the selection of your camp, 
and the employment of the above^njentioned meth- 
ods of protection, will obviate every difficulty and 
make you as free from inconvenience as you would 
be in the majority of Kew England villages. 

LADIES* OUTFIT. -r..- 

- ." ..::.:; tiiti,. 

A lady at my elbow^, recalling how^ valuable a 
few suggestions would Jiave been to her fiv^ years 
ago in respect to what is most appropriate and 
serviceable for a lady to wear in the wilderness, 
inserts the following list : — 



LADIES' OUTFIT. 59 

A net of fine Swiss mull, made as we have pre- 
viously described, as protection against mosqui- 
toes, gnats, etc. 

A pair of buckskin gloves, w^itli armlets of cha- 
mois-skin or thick drilling, sewed on at the wrist 
of tlie glove and buttoned near the elbow so tightly 
as to prevent the entrance of flies. 

For the head, a soft felt hat, such as gentlemen 
wear, rather broad in the l)rim. This is light and 
cool for the head, and a good protection from sun 
and rain. 

A flannel change throughout. 

Thick balmoral boots, with rubbers. 

A pair of camp shoes, water-proof, warm and 
roomy. 

Short walking-dress, with Turkish drawers fas- 
tened with a band tightly at the ankle. 

Waterproof or rulil^er coat and cap. 

A pair of Lisle-thread or kid gloves. 

To this I add, as it occurs to me at this point, 
that no party should go into the wilderness unpro- 
vided with linen bandages, prepared lint, salve, 
and whatever else is needed in case of acci- 
dent. You will not, probably, have occasion to 
use them, but if any casualty should occur they 
would be of the utmost service. 



60 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 



WILD ANIMALS. 

I am often • asked, especially by ladies, if it is 
not dangerous to take such a trip, and if wild ani- 
mals do not abound in the wilderness ; and I 
know that many are deterred from making the 
excursion because of their timidity. The only 
animals concerning which the most timid coidd be 
alarmed are the bear, wolf, and panther. The 
latter is a very ugly neighbor indeed, and the 
less you have to do with him the better. I- am 
tolerably familiar with wood life, and the sights 
arid sounds of such danger as one is liable to 
meet in the wilderness ; and John and I have 
slept more than once, calmly enough, with our 
rifles inside our blankets, not knowing when we 
lay down what cry might awaken us ; but I should 
not purposely put myself in the way of a panther, 
unless I could run my eye along the sights of my 
double rifle when the barrels Avere freshly charged. 
In speaking of the panther, I do not, of course, al- 
lude to the Canadian wild-cat, with which the igno- 
rant often confound the panther, but to the puma 
itself, an animal which often measures twelve fee^ 
from tip to tip, and is the slyest, strongest, bloodiest 
ranger of the woods. Now, fortunately, the pan- 
ther is almost wholly unknown in this region. A 
few still live amoncj the loneliest defiles an/1 darkest 



WILD ANIMALS. 61 

gorges of the Adirondack ^lountains, but they 
never come down, unless in the depth of winter, 
to the shores of the lakes to the west, or the bank? 
of the rivers. Many years have passed since one 
has b(!en seen by any of the guides. The region 
traversed by parties is as free from them as the 
State of Massachusetts. 

Black bears abound in some localities, but 
m ;re timid, harmless creatures do not exist, all the 
oLl stories to the contrary notwithstanding. In 
temper and action toward men they resemble very 
closely the woodchuck. Their first and only anx- 
iety is to escape man's presence. If you penetrate 
far enough into the wilderness, you will occasional- 
ly, at night, hear them nosing around your camp, 
with liedgehogs and the like, but ever careful to keep 
out of your sight. A stick, piece of bark, or tin plate 
shied in the direction of the noise, will scatter 
them like cats. The same is true of wolves. They 
are only too anxious to keep out of your sight and 
hearing. Touch a match to an old stump, and in 
t^vo hours there will not be a wolf within ten miles 
of }■ ou. I wish all. to take the statement as in every 
sense true, when I declare that there is absolutely 
no danger, nor indeed the least approach to danger, 
in camping in the wilderness. Many and many a 
n Ight has my wife, when John and I were oft' on a 
hunt, slept soundly and without a thought of 
danger, in the depths of the forest, fifty miles 



62 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

from even a liunter's cabin. It is true that her 
education in woodcraft is more extensive than 
that of most ladies, and, for presence of mind, 
quickness and skill with the ritle, many so-called 
" crack shots " might well take lessons of her ; but 
were this not true, I regard a camp, granted only 
that it be so far in that men cannot reach it, as a 
place of absolute security. 

PROVISIONS. 

All you need to carry in with you is 

CoJBFee, Pepper, 

Tea, Butter (this optional). 

Sugar, Pork, and Condensed Milk. 

Always take crushed sugar ; powdered sugar is 
not easily picked up if the bag bursts and lets it 
out among the pine-stems. 

If you are a " high liver," and wish to take in 
canned fruits and jellies, of course you can do so. 
But these are luxuries which, if you are wise, 
you will leave behind you. 

BILL OF FARE. 

I am often asked, " What do you have to eat up 
there ? " In order to answer the very natural 
<^uestion, and show the reader that I do not starve, 



BILL OF FARE. 63 

I will give my bill of fare as you can have 
it served, if you will call at my camp on the 
Eae^iuette next July. This is no " fancy sketch/' 
but a hoiia fide list which I have " gone through " 
more than once, and hope to many times more. 

Vegetables. 
Potatoes, boiled, fried, or mashed. 

Meats. 
Venison, roast. Venison sausages. 

" yteak, broiled. " hash. 

" fried. " spitted. 

■Fish. 
J^ke Trjut (salmon). Trout (spotted). 
Boiled. Fried (in meal). 

Baked. Broiled. 

Broiled. Spitted. 

Chowder. 

Pancakes, with maple sirup (choice) 
Brea^d, warm and stale, both. 
Coffee. Tea. 

Now imagine that you have been out for eight 
hours, with a cool, appetizing mountain breeze 
blowing in your face, and then fancy yourself 
seated before your bark table in the shadow of the 
pines, with the water rippling at your feet ; a lake 



64 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

dotted with islands, and walled in with mountains, 
before you, and such a bill of fare to select from, 
and then tell me if it looks like starvation ? If a 
inan cannot make a pound of flesh per day on that 
diet, I pity him ! 

And now, patient reader, having given you all 
the information necessary to make you acquainted 
with the geography of the wilderness, the charac- 
ter of the sporting therein, the outfit needed for 
the excursion, the best routes of entrance, and 
certain suggestions as to hotels, guides, and con- 
trivances of protection from gnats and flies, I close 
this chapter with the wish that you may find, in 
excursions which you may make thereto, the health 
and happiness which have, upon its waters and 
under its softly murmuring pines, come to me, and 
more abundantly — as to one who needed them 
more — to her who joins me in the hope of meet- 
ing you amid the lilies which fleck with snow its 
rivers, or in the merry circle, free from care, which, 
on some future evening, we hope to gather around 
our camp-fire. 



II. 

THE NAMELESS CREEK. 

IT ■ A-as five o'clock in the afternoon when, aftei 
three hours of constant struggle with the cur- 
rent, we burst our way through a mass of alder- 
bushes and marsh-grass, and behold, the lake lay 
before us 1 Wet from head to foot, panting from 
my recent exertion, having eaten nothing since 
seven in the morning, and weary from ten hours' 
steady toil, I felt neither weariness nor hunger as 
I gazed upon the scene. Shut in on all sides by 
mountains, mirrored from base to summit in its 
placid bosom, bordered here with fresh green 
grass and there with reaches of golden sand, and 
again with patches of lilies, whose fragTance,mingled 
with the scent of balsam and pine, filled the air, 
the lake reposed unruffled and serene. 

I know of nothing which carries the mind so far 
back toward the creative period as to stand on the 
shore of such a sheet of water, knowing that as you 
behold it, so has it been for ages. The water 
which laves your feet is the same as that which 
flowed when the springs which feed it were first 
uncapped. No rude axe has smitten the forests 



66 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

which grow upon the mountains ; even the grass at 
your side is as the parent spire which He who 
ordereth all commands to bring forth seed after 
its kind. All around you xS as it was in the begin- 
ning. I know not how long I should thus have 
stood musing, but for a motion of John's, which 
broke the chain of thought and brought my mind 
back to the practical realization that we were 
wet, hungry, and tired. In the middle of the lake 
was a large flat rock, rising some two feet above the 
surface of the water. Stepping noiselessly into our 
boat, we paddled to the rock, and, ^Tinging our drip- 
ping garments, stretched ourselves at full length 
upon it to dry. 0, the pleasant sensation of warmth 
which that hard couch, to which the sun had given 
a genial heat, communicated to us ! Never was bed 
of eider-down so welcome to royal limbs as was 
that granite ledge to ours. What luxury to lie and 
watch the vapor roll up from your wet garments 
while the warm rock gave out its heat to your 
chilled body ! In an hour we were dry, at least 
comparatively so, and we held a council. Our 
commissariat was getting rather low. Our stores, 
spread upon the rock, amounted to the following : 
two pounds of pork, six pounds of flour, four meas- 
ures of coffee, one half-pound of tea. John esti- 
mated that this would last us three days, if I 
had ordinary success with the rod. "But what 
are we to do to-night? " I exclaimed ; " we have 



THE NAMELESS CREEK. 67 

neither trout nor venison, and I am hungry enough 
to eat those two pounds of pork alone, if I once 
get fairly at it, and there goes the sun l)ack of 
the tree-tops now ? " " Well, unstrap your rod and 
select your flies," responded he, " and we will see 
what we can find. I don't mean to have you wrap 
yourself around that piece of pork to-night any 
way." I did as requested. For the tail fly I 
noosed on a brown hackle, above it I tied a killer, 
and for the dapper I hitched on a white moth. 
Taking the bow seat, John paddled straight for the 
west shore of the lake, and the lidit boat, cutting 
its way through the lily-pads, shot into a narrow 
aperture overhung with bushes and tangled grass, 
and I saw a sight I never shall forget. We had 
entered the inlet of the lake, a stream some twenty 
feet in width, whose waters were dark and sluggish. 
The setting sun yet poured its radiance tlirough the 
overhanging pines, flecking the tide with crimson 
patches and crossing it here and there with golden 
lanes. Up this stream, flecked with gold and bor- 
dered with lilies as far as the eye could reach, the 
air was literally full of jumping trout. From amid 
lily-pads, from under the overhanging grass, and 
in the bright radiance poured along the middle of 
the stream, the speckled beauties were launching 
themselves. Here a little fellow would cut his 
tiny furrow along the surface after a fluttering 
gnat ; there a larger one, with quivering fin and 



68 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

open mouth, would fling himself high into the air 
in a brave attempt to seize a passing moth ; and 
again, a two-pounder, like a miniature porpoise, 
would lazily rise to the surface, roll up his golden 
side, and, flinging his broad tail upward, witli a 
splash disappear. Casting loose my flies and un- 
coiling my leader, I made ready to cast ; but John, 
unmindful or regardless of the motion, kept the even 
sweep of his stroke. Eound tufted banks, under 
overhanging pines, and through tangled lily-pads 
we passed, and at every turn and up every stretch 
of water the same sight presented itself. At length, 
sweeping sharply round a curve, John suddenly re- 
versed his paddle and checked the boat, so that the 
bow stood upon the very rim of a' pool some forty 
feet across. Dark and gloomy it lay, with its sur- 
face as smooth as though no ripple had ever crossed 
it No one would have guessed that beneath the 
t.'anquil surface lay life and sport. 

Adjusting myself firmly on my narrow seat, un- 
tangling the snells and gathering up my leader, I 
flung the flies into mid-air and launched them out 
over the pool. The moment their feathery forms 
had specked the water, a single gleam of yellow 
light flashed up from the dark depth, and a trout, 
closing his mouth upon the brown hackle, darted 
downward. I struck and had him. A small trout 
he proved to be, of only some half-pound weight. 
After having passed him over to John to be disen- 



THE NAMELESS CREEK. 69 

gaged, I again launclied the flies out, which, pa,us- 
ine: a moment in mid-air as the straightened line 
brought them up, began slowly to settle down, but 
ere they touched the water four gleams of light 
crossed the pool and four quivering forms, with 
wide-spread tails and open mouths, leaped high 
out of water. I struck, and, after a brief struggle, 
landed two. From that moment the pool was lit- 
erally alive with eager fish. The deep, dark water 
actually effervesced, stirred into bubbles and foam. 
Six trout did T see at once in mid-air, in zealous 
rivahy to seize the coveted flies. Fifteen succes- 
sive casts were made, and twenty-three trout 
lay flapping on the bottom of the boat. But of 
them all none would weigh over three quarters 
of a pound ; yet had I seen fish ripe which must 
have balanced twice that weight. I turned to John 
and said, "Wliy don't some of those large ones 
take the fly?" " Presently, presently," responded he. 
" The little ones are too quick for them ; cast away 
quick and sharp, waste no time, snap them off, never 
mind the flies, and when you have cleared the sur- 
face of the small fry you will see what lies at the 
bottom." I complied. At last, after some forty 
had been flung down the stream, the rises became 
less frequent, the water less agitated, and, partly 
to rest my \^Tist and partly to give John time to 
adjust new and larger flies, I paused. In five 
minutes the current had cleared the pool of bub- 



70 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

bles, and the dark water settled gradually into sul- 
len repose. " Now," said John, " lengthen your 
line and cast at that patch of lily-pads lying under 
the hemlock there, and if a large one rises, strike * 
hard." I did as desired. The flies, in response 
to the twist of the pliant rod, rose into the air, 
darted forward, and, pausing over the lily-pads, 
lighted deftly on the water. Scarcely had their 
trail made itseK visible on the smooth surface, be- 
fore a two-pounder gleamed out of the dark depths, 
and rolling his golden side up to the light, closed 
his jaws upon the white moth. I struck. Stung 
by the pain, he flung himself, with a mighty effort, 
high in air, hoping to fall upon the leader and 
snap the slender gut. Dropping the point of my 
rod, he came harmlessly down upon the slack. 
Kecovering himself, he dove to the bottom, sulking. 
Bearing- gradually upon his mouth, the only re- 
sponse I got was a sullen shaking, as a dog shakes 
a woodchuck. Fearing his sharp teeth would cut 
the already well-chafed snell, I bore stoutly upon 
him, lifting him bodily up toward the surface. 
Wlien near the top, giving one desperate shake, 
he started. Back and forth, round and round that 
pool he flashed, a gleam of yellow light through 
the dark water, until at last, wearied and exhausted 
by his efforts, he rolled over upon his side and lay 

* This word is one employed by sportsmen to denote the 
motion with which the fish is hooked. 



THE NAMELESS CREEK. 71 

panting upon the surface. Jolm deftly passed the 
landing-net under him, and the next minute he lay 
amid his smaller brethren in the boat. I paused a 
moment to admire. A bluish-black trout he was, 
dotted with spots of bright vermilion. His fins, 
rosy as autumnal skies at sunset, were edged with 
a border of purest white. His tail was broad and 
thick ; eyes prominent, mouth wide and armed with 
briery teeth. A trout in color and build rarely 
seen, gamy and stanch. Noosing on a fresh fly in 
place of the one his teeth had mangled, I made 
ready for another cast. Expecting much, I was not 
prepared for what followed. 

Now, all ye lovers of bright waters and green- 
sward, who lift a poor half-pounder with your big 
troUing-rod and call it sport, listen and learn what 
befell one of your craft at sunset at the pool of the 
Nameless Creek. Nameless let it be, until she who 
most would have enjoyed it shall, on some future 
sunset, floating amid the lilies, cast flies upon its 
tide. 

A backward motion of the tip, and a half-turn of 
the wrist, and the three flies leaped upward and 
ahead. Spreading themselves out as they reached 
the limit of the cast, like flakes of feathery snow 
they settled, wavering downward ; when suddenly 
up out of the depth, cleaving the water in concert, 
one to each fly, three trout appeared. At the 
same instant, high in mid-air, their jaws closed on 



72 ADVENTURES IN i'HE WILDERNESS. 

the barbed liooks. No shout from John was need- 
ed to make me strike. I struck so quick and 
strong that the leader twanged like a snapped 
boW-string, and the tip of the light rod flew down 
nearly to the reel. All three were hooked. Three 
trout, weighing in the aggregate seven pounds, held 
by a single hair on a nine-ounce rod, in a pool 
fringed with lily-pads, forty by thirty feet across ! 

Then folio w^ed what to enjoy again I would ride 
thrice two hundred miles. The contest, requiring 
nerve and skill on the fisher's part, was to keep the 
plunging fish out of the lily-pads, in which, should 
they once become entangled, the gut would part 
like a thread of corn-silk or the spider's gossamer 
line. Up and dow^n, to and fro, they glanced. The 
lithe rod bent like a coachman's whip to the un- 
usual strain, and the leader sung as it cut through 
the water wath the whir of a pointed bullet. 

At last, when at the farthest corner of the pool, 
they doubled short upon the line, and as one fish 
rushed straight for the boat. Fishermen know wdiat 
that movement means. " Give 'em the butt ! give 
'em the butt ! " shouted John. " Smash your rod 
or stop 'em ! " Never before had I feared to thrust 
the butt of that rod out toward an advancing fish ; 
but here were three, each large enough to task a 
common rod, untired and frenzied with pain, rush- 
ing directly toward me. If I hesitated, it was but 
an instant, for the cry of John to " Smash her ! 



THE NAMELESS CREEK. '73 

smash your rod or stop 'em ! " decided the matter. 
Grij)ping the extreme butt with one hand, and 
clutching the reel with the other, I held them 
steadily out, toward the oncoming fish. " Good 
by, old rod," I mentally exclaimed, as I saw 
the three gleaming forms dash under the boat ; 
"stanch as you are, you can't stand that." An 
instant, and the pressure came upon the reel. I 
gripped it tightly, not giving an inch. The pliant 
rod doubled itself up under the strain, until the 
point of the tip was stretched a foot below the 
hand which grasped the butt, and the quivering 
lance-wood lay across the distended knuckles. Nor 
fish nor rod could stand that pressure long. I 
could feel the fibres creep along the delicate shaft, 
and the mottled line, woven of choicest silk, at- 
tenuated under the strain, seemed like a single liair. 
I looked at John. His eyes were fastened upon the 
rod. I glanced down the stream, and even at the 
instant the three magnificent fish, forced gradually 
up by the pliancy of what they could not break, 
broke the smooth surface and lay with open 
mouths and gasping gills upon the tide. In 
trying to land the three, the largest one escaped. 
The other two averaged sixteen inches long. With- 
in tlie space of forty minutes nearly a hundred 
trout had been taken, fifty of which, varying from 
one quarter of a pound to two pounds and a half in 
weight, lay along the bottom of the boat ; the rest 

4 



74 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

had been cast back into the water, as unhooked by 
John. It was Saturday evening. The sun had 
gone down behind the western mountains, and amid 
the gathering shadows we sought a camp. We 
found one in the shape of a small bark lodge, which 
John himself had erected fourteen years previous, 
when, in company with an old trapper, he camped 
one fall upon the shores of this lake. Kindling 
a fire in the long-neglected fireplace, we sat down 
to our supper under the clear sky already tliickly 
dotted with stars. From seven in the mornino; 
until eight in the evening we had been without 
food. I have an indistinct recollection that I 
put myself outside of eles^en trout, and that John 
managed to surround nine more. But there may 
be an error of one or two either way, for I am under 
the impression that my mental faculties were not 
in the best working condition at the close of the 
meal. John recollects distinctly that he cooked 
twenty-one fish, and but three could be found in 
the pan when we stopped eating, which he care- 
fully laid aside that we might take a bite before 
going to sleejD ! 

Our meal w^as served up in three courses. The 
first course consisted of trout and pancakes ; the 
second course, pancakes and trout ; the third, fish 
and flapjacks. 



111. 

RUNNING THE RAPIDS. 

•^ XT OW for the rapids," said John, as our boat 
1 ^ left the tranquil waters of the lake, and, 
sweeping around a huge shelving ledge, shot into 
the narrow channel, where the waters, converged 
from either shore, were gathering themse^^es for 
the foam and thunder below. 

The rapids were three miles in length, — one 
stretch of madly rushing water, save where, at the 
foot of some long flight or perpendicular fall, a 
pool lay, specked with bubbles, and flecked with 
patches of froth. The river is paved with rocks, 
and full of boulders, amid which the water glides 
smooth and deep, or dashes with headlong vio- 
lence against them. And ever and anon, at the 
head of some steep declivity, gathering itself for 
flight, downward it shoots with arrowy swiftness, 
until, bursting over a fall, it buries itself in the 
pool beneath. 

At the head of such a stretch of water, whose 
roar and murmur filled the air, we ran our boats 
ashore. Never until this season had these rapids 
been run, even by the guides ; and now, untried, 



76 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

inexperienced, against the advice of friends, I was 
to attempt, unaided and alone, to guide my boat 
past ledge, through torrents, and over waterfalls, 
to the still bay below. The preparation w^as 
simple, and soon made. I strapped my ritie, rod, 
and all my baggage to tne sides and bottom of the 
boat, relaced my moccasins and tightened my belt, 
so that, in case I stove the shell, or, failing to keep 
her steady, should capsize her, I might take to the 
water light, and have my traps drift ashore with 
the wr«3k. Nevertheless, I did not intend that 
the boat should upset ; indeed, the chances were 
in my favor. Oars and boats had been my play- 
things from a boy ; and wild indeed must be the 
current up and across which I could not shoot 
the shell in which I sat, — made of forest pine, 
■fourteen feet in length, sharp as an arrow, and 
weighing but seventy pounds. In addition, John 
had given me valuable hints, the sum of which 
might be expressed thus : " In currents, keep her 
straight ; look out for underlying rocks, and smash 
your oars before you smash your boat." " Little 
danger," I said to myself, " of snapping oar-blades 
made of second-growth ash, and only eight feet 
from butt to tip." Yet it was not without some 
misgiving that I shot my boat out into the swift 
current, and with steady stroke held her on the 
verge of the first flight of water, while I scanned 
the foam and eddies for the best opening between 



KUNNING THE RAPIDS. 77 

the rocks to get her through. In shooting rap- 
ids the oarsman faces down stream in order to 
watch the currents, direct his course, and, if need 
be, when within his power, and danger is ahead, to 
check his flight and choose another course. The 
great thing and the essential thing to learn and 
do is to take the advantage of the currents, whirls, 
and eddies, so as to sway your boat, and pass from 
this to that side of the rapids easily. The agree- 
ment was, that John should precede me in his 
boat ; that I, watching his motions, and guided 
by his course somewhat, might be assisted in the 
descent by his experience. A good arrangement, 
surely ; but 

" The best laid schemes o' mice and men 
Gang- aft aglej," 

as we found before half a mile of the course 
had been run ; for my boat, being new and light, 
beside less heavily loaded than John's, caught at 
the head of some falls by the swift current, darted 
down the steep decline, and entering side by side, 
with a mighty leap, the yeasty foam, shot out 
ahead, and from that moment led the race to the 
foot of the rapids. But I anticipate. 

Thus, as I said, I sat in my boat, holding her 
steadily, by strength of oar, in mid-stream, where 
the water smoothed itself for the plunge, until 
John, with friend Burns sitting upon his feet like 



78 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

a Turk, on the bottom of the boat, holding on to 
either side with his hands to steady himself 
(whether John had strapped him down or not \ 
can't surely say), pushed from shore, and, taking 
the current above, brushed swiftly by, with the 
injunction to " follow." I obeyed. Down we 
glided, past rock and ledge, swerving now this 
side, now that, sweeping round giant boulders and 
jutting banks, down under the dark balsams and 
overhanging pines, the suction growing stronger 
and strono^er, the fliojht swifter, until the boats, 
like eagles swooping on one prey, took the last 
'.jtretch almost side by side, and, lifted high up on 
the verge of the first falls, made the wild leap 
together, and disappeared into the yeasty foam, 
whence, rising buoyantly, uplifted by the swelling 
water, shot out of the foam and mist, and, like 
birds fresh from sport, floated cork-like on the 
pool below. 

We paused a moment to breathe, when, looking 
up, the two remaining boats, guided by Jerry and 
the younger Eobinson, bearing Southwick and 
Everitt as passengers, came sweeping round the 
curve, and rushing, as from the roof of a house, 
to the brink of the fall, flung themselves into the 
abyss, and in a moment lay along our side. The 
excitement was intense. No words can describe 
the exhilaration of such a flight. It was thought, 
after mature deliberation by the company, that 



RUNNING THE RAPIDS. 79 

Everitt's delighted yell alone, in ordinary weather, 
with a little \\'ind in its favor, might have been 
heard easily sixteen miles. His whole being, cor- 
poral and spiritual, seemed to resolve itseK into 
one prolonged howl of unmitigated happiness. 

Having rested ourselves, we started again. By 
this time, brief as the experience had been, I had 
learned much as to the action of currents, and was 
able to judge pretty correctly how low a rock or 
ledge lay under water by the size and motion of 
the swirl above it. One learns fast in action ; 
and fifteen minutes of actual experience amid 
rapids does more to teach the eye and hand what 
to do, and how to do it, than any amount of infor- 
mation gathered from other sources. To sit in 
your light shell of a boat, in mid-current, with 
rocks on either side, where the bed of the river 
declines at an angle of thirty degrees, knowing 
that a miscalculation of the eye, a misstroke of the 
oar or the least shaking of the muscles will send 
your boat rolling over and over, and you under it, 
has a very strong tendency to make a man look 
sharp and keep his wits about him. 

Well, as I said, we started. For some fifty rods 
the current was comparatively smooth and slow. 
The river was wide and the decline not sharp. 
The chief difficulty we found to be in avoiding the 
stones and rocks with which the bottom of the 
river is paved, and which in many places were 



80 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

barely covered. My boat, with only myself in it, 
needed but some two inches of water to float in, 
and would pass safely over where the other boats 
would toucli or refuse to go at all. It required 
great care on the part of the guides to let theirs 
over gently, as their bottoms are but little thicker 
than pasteboard, and held by small copper tacks. 
At last the shallows were past, and, bringing our 
boats in line, one behind the other, we made all 
ready for another rush. The sight from this point 
ivas grand. Our boats w^ere poised as on the 
fidge-board of a house, wdiile below, for some 
twenty rods, the water w^ent tearing down ; now 
gliding over a smooth shelving ledge, with the 
quick, tremulous motion of a serpent, and now 
torn to shreds by jagged rocks at the bottom, and 
again beat back by huge boulders which lifted 
themselves in mid-current, presenting to the 
eye one continuous stretch of mad turmoil and 
riot. At the foot of the reach the eye could just 
discern the smooth, glassy rim of a fall, we knew 
not how high, while far down the river, shut from 
view by a sharp curve, the rush and roar of other 
falls rose sullenly up through the heavy pines and 
overhanoino- hemlocks, wdiich almost arched the 
current from side to side. At a word from Jolm, 
who, leading the van, sat as a warrior might sit 
his steed, bareheaded and erect, the oars were 
lifted, and the freed boats, as though eager for 




% 



RUNNING THE RAPIDS. 81 

flight, started downward. Away, away they flew. 
If before they went like birds, they went Hke 
eagles now. No keeping in line here ; each man 
for himself in this wild race ; and woe to boatman 
and to boat if an oar should break or oar-bolt 
snap. Close after John, gaining at every rush, 
my light boat sped. No thought for others, all 
eye and nerve for self, with a royal upleaping of 
blood, as my face, wet with the spray, clove 
through the air, I flashed until the fall was 
reached, and, side by side, with traihng oars, we 
took the leap together. Down, down we sank 
into the feathery foam ; the froth flung high over 
us as we splashed into it. Down, down, as if the 
pool had no bottom, we went, our boats half full 
of spume and foam, till the reacting water under- 
neath caught the light shells up and flung them 
out of the yeast and mist, dripping inside and out, 
from stem to stern, as sea-birds rising from a 
plunge. No stop nor stay for breathing here. 
Around the curve, by no effort of mine leading 
the race, I went, swept down another reach and 
over another fall, and, without power to pause a 
moment, entered into the third before I had time 
to think. Steeper than all behind, it lay before 
me, but straight, and for a distance smooth, for 
aught I could see as I shook the spray from my 
eyes, until it narrowed, and the converging tor- 
rent met between two overhanging rocks in one 

4* y 



82 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

huge ridge of tossing, swelling w^ater. What lay 
below I knew not ; how steep the fall, or on what 
bottom I should land. In rapids, John had told 
me, the wildest water w^as the safest, and so I 
steered straight for the highest sw^ell of water and 
the whitest foam. Fancy a current, rods in width, 
converging as it glides, until the mass of rushing 
water is brought as into an eaves-trough five feet 
across, with sharp, jutting rocks for sides, where 
the compressed water flings itself wildly up, in- 
dignant at the restraint put upon it; and then 
fancy yourself in a boat weighing but seventy 
pounds, gliding down with a swiftness almost 
painful into the narrow funnel through which, 
bursting, you must shoot a fall you cannot see, 
but whose roar rises heavily over the dash of the 
torrent, and you can realize what it is to shoot the 
rapids of the Eacquette Eiver, and my position at 
the time. 

Balancing myself nicely on the seat, dipping 
the oar-blades until their low^er edges brushed 
along the tide, I kept my eyes steadily upon the 
narrow aperture, and let her glide. Nothing but 
the pressure of the air upon the cheek, as the face 
clove it, and the sharp whistling of the seething 
current, bespeaks the swiftness w^ith which you 
move. When near the narrow gorge, — which 
you must take square in the centre, and in direct 
line, or smash your boat to flinders, — while the 



RUNNING THE RAPIDS. 83 

width would yet allow, wishing some steerage-way 
before I entered the clia-sm, I threw my whole 
strength upon the oars. The lithe ash bent to 
the strain, and the boat quiA^ered from stem to 
stern under the quick stroke. Then, bending for- 
ward upon the seat, with oars at a trail, I shot 
into the opening between the rocks. For an in- 
stant the oar-blades grated along their sides, and 
then, riding upon the crest of a wave, I passed out 
of the damp passage, and lo ! the fall whose roar I 
had heard yawned just beneath me. Quick as 
thought, I swung the oars ahead, and as the bil- 
low lifted me high up upon the very brink, gave 
way with all my might. Whatever spare strength 
I had lying anywhere about me, at that particular 
point of time, I am under the impression was 
thrown into those oar-blades. The boat was fairly 
lifted off the wave, and shot into the air. For an 
instant, it touched neither water nor foam, then 
dropped into the boiling caldron. Another stroke 
and it darted out of the seething mass with less 
than a gallon of water along the bottom. 

The rapids were run ! Wiping the sweat from 
my face, and emptying the water from the barrels 
of my rifle, I rested on my oars, to see the boys 
come down. 0, royal sight it was, to see them 
come, one after another, — John leading the van, 
— over the verge ! As boats in air they seemed, 
with airy boatmen, as they came dashing along. 



84 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

0, royal sport, to see them glide like arrows down 
tlie steep, at an angle so sharp that I could see the 
bottom board in each boat, from stem to stern 1 
0, noble sight to see them enter in between the 
mighty rocks, — the chasm shutting them from 
view a moment, — from which, emerging in 
quick succession, with mighty leaps, quivering 
like sporting fish, tliey shot the falls triumph- 
antly ! 

What sports have we in house and city like 
those which the children of wood and stream 
enjoy ? — heroic sports which make heroic men. 
Sure I am, that never until we four have done 
with boats and boating, and, under other pilotage, 
have entered into and passed through the waters 
of a colder stream, shall we forget the running of 
the Eacquette Eapids, on that bright summer day. 
And often, as we pause a moment from work, 
above the harsh rumble of car and cart, the sound 
of file and hammer, rises the roar of the rapids. 
And often, through the hot, smoky air of town 
and city, to cool and refresh us, will drift, from 
the far north, the breeze that blows forever on the 
Eacquette, rich with the odors of balsam and of 
pine. 

That night I slept upon the floor at Palmer's, 
proud to feel that I was the first '' gentleman " — 
in the language of the guides — " that ever ran 
the rapids " ; prouder of that than of deeds, at- 



RUNNING THE RAPIDS. 85 

tempted or done, of which most men would longer 
dream. I nearly forgot to state that several un- 
earthly yells in the chamber overhead, during the 
night, revealed the fact that somebody, in dreams, 
wa5 still running the rapids. 



IV. 

THE BALL. 

WE were seven in all, — as jolly a set of fel- 
lows as ever rollicked under the pines, 
or startled tlie owls with laughter, that summer 
of '67, when camping on the Eacquette. Our com- 
pany represented a variety of business and profes- 
sions ; but, happily, we were of one temper and 
taste. 

There was Hubbard, a gentleman faultless in 
bearing and speech ; the fit of whose coat and the 
gloss of whose boots, whether you met him in Wall 
Street or at his manufactory in Connecticut, might 
well stir the envy of an exquisite. There was 
Everitt, to whose name you could write photog- 
rapher, artist, violinist; the most genial, sunny, 
kind-hearted, and rollicksome fellow that ever en- 
livened a camp, or blest the world with his pres- 
ence. Southvvdck, when at home, supplied half the 
city with soles ; who sells boots and shoes in such 
a manner as to make you feel, as you go stamping 
away from his presence, that he has done you a spe- 
cial favor in condescending to take your money at 
all ; a man who crossed the Isthmus, and tunnelled 



THE BALL. 87 

tlie gulches of California for gold in 1848 ; a shrewd, 
wide-awake Yankee, such as are grown principally 
in that smartest of all our States, — the Nutmeg 
State. And there, too, was Fitch, who had han- 
dled the saw and lancet in the army during the 
war. And Fay, the lawyer, who had fought the 
battle all young lawyers must fight, and won. 
And Burns, and the Parson. A goodly set of 
fellows, one and all, equally ready for business or 
fun. 

We were on our way " out," bronzed and tough 
from exposure to the sun, water, and wind ; and 
with hearts as free from care and as light as chil- 
dren's, we clomb the hill, at the base of which we 
had run our boats ashore, and entered, with merry 
greetings. Uncle Palmer's house. What a hungry 
set we were, when, at four o'clock that afternoon, 
we drew up to that never-to-be forgotten table ! 
What jokes and stories and peals of laughter en- 
livened the repast, and made the table and dishes 
shake and clatter as the meal progressed. No 
coarseness nor rudeness there ; each man a gentle- 
man still, amid the liveliest sally of wit and loud- 
est roar of merriment. At last the meal was over, 
and we adjourned to the open air to smoke or 
lounge, or to engage in rivalry of skill, until the 
day, rich in its summer loveliness, should fade 
away. Several matches with the rifle — the result 
of boastful banter — at last engage the attention of 



88 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

the entire party. Our targets were pennies stuck 
into tlie end of a slender stick, two or three feet 
long, which Jerry held out some thirty paces ofiP ; 
the rule being that no bullet must graze the 
stick. Pretty close work it was, requiring steady 
nerves and an exact eye ; but penny after penny 
had been dashed out of the slot, and hurled into 
the oat-field beyond. The blue smoke from the 
muzzle of my rifle was curling gracefully into the 
air as I closed the contest, when Everitt exclaimed, 
" What shall we do to-night, boys ? " " Let us 
have a dance," shouted Hubbard; "Uncle's dining- 
room is just the place to trip the light fantastic 
toe." And he jumped up from the log on which 
he had been sitting, and struck into a double- 
shufde, which sent the chips flying in all direc- 
tions. 

" Hurrah ! a ball, a ball I " screamed South wick, 
''unless the Parson objects. A speech from the 
Parson ! hear, hear ! " he continued, as he turned a 
double sunmiersault over Fay's back, and landed 
some distance down the slope in an onion-bed. 
Unfortunately for the Parson, Southwick's yell 
was taken up, and the words " Speech ! " '' Ball ! " 
" Parson ! " " Dance ! " resounded on all sides. 
Being thus called upon, I could not refuse to 
give my opinion. Indeed, I may be pardoned 
when I admit that I felt quite flattered by the 
heartiness of the call. It was more direct and 



THE BALL. 89 

unanimous than I ever expect to receive from any 
church whatever. Moreover, for I wish the true 
state of the case to be thoroughly understood, I 
had not made a speech for nearly three weeks. 
Now, as all my readers know, " making speeches " 
is about the only bona fide perquisite of the pro- 
fession. This is the great advantage we have over 
laymen. The moment you take this away from 
a clergyman, you rob him of his great prerogative, 
and he becomes no better than an ordinary man. 
My clerical readers will, I am sure, sympathize 
with me in my position. For three weeks I had 
been of no importance whatever to the world, but 
here was a chance to do some good ; here, unex' 
pectedly, an opportunity to make a speech had 
presented itself. I mounted a pile of cedar slabs, 
and, trying to feel modest, began : — 

"Dancing, my friends, I remark in the first 
place, is a very pernicious habit." That was » 
good beginning. Even three weeks of constrainec? 
and cruel deprivation had not deprived me of my 
"gift." Pausing a moment to note the effect of 
my opening sentence upon the audience, I was 
slightly embarrassed at the sight of Southwick 
dropping small chips down the neck of Burns's 
shirt. Eallying in an instant, I resumed : " It has 
been the means, my hearers, of getting many a 
young man into a scrape." Here I paused again. 
\^^atover weakness the first sentence had in ^'^ 



90 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

this had the true sermon ring. No, T had not lost 
my power. My birthright had not been filched 
from me. I began to feel the oratorical impulse 
once more. I drew myseK up, closed the thumb 
and two middle fingers of my left hand, and point- 
ing the other two directly at the audience, as I had 
seen some of our celebrated orators, clenched the 
right fist, and shook it at an invisible foe over 
my head, — a gesture borrowed from some of our 
Congressmen, — and shouted : " Dancing will be a 
perilous amusement to you to-night ; because — 
because — " I lost the connection here, but re- 
membering what a slight matter such a lapse is 
in a sermon, before most congregations, and feel- 
ing that it w^ould not do to stop just there, con- 
tinued, — " because it leads to a promiscuous min- 
gling of the two sexes. On this ground I am 
to-night, and ever shall be, opposed to it. I warn 
you against Mr. Southwick's suggestion." 

At this point I was interrupted by the most 
uproarious tumult. Intense and indecorous mer- 
riment seized the entire group. Hubbard was 
pressing his hands against his sides in the 
most suggestive manner. Everitt was hammer- 
ing South wick with both fists upon his back, in 
the hope of saving him from death by stran- 
gulation. It w^as impossible to proceed. I was 
conscious that I ought to go on. I had several 
splendid sentences all ready for utterance. I felt 



THE BALL. 91 

that every moment I was losing my hold upon the 
audience. Still the uproar grew. In -vvTath, min- 
gled with love, I descended from the slabs, and 
taking Burns gently but decidedly by the collar, 
demanded the cause of his unseemly mirth. 

Sobered slightly by my attitude, which was 
sternly affectionate. Burns managed to articulate, 
" How can there be a ' promiscuous mingling of the 
sexes ' in this crowd ? " 

I stood perfectly dumb. I saw the justness of 
the criticism and the dilemma suggested. I real- 
ized, at that moment, the value of logical connec- 
tion. 

Had my audience been in a church, and devoutly 
drowsy or piously asleep, such a slight slip would 
never have been noticed, and the report of the 
sermon, wTitten out by a godless expert, who had 
not left his hotel during the day, would have ap- 
peared excellently in Monday's papers. 

I retired in haste and mortification from the 
yelling and writhing group ; nor did I regain my 
composure until the sounds of Everitt's violin 
charmed the darkness from my soul as the harp 
of David exorcised by its melody the wicked 
spirit from the bosom of Saul. 

Now Everitt is a natural fiddler. He fiddles as 
easily as a rabbit runs. While camping on Con- 
sta]:>le Point, on the Eacquette, we had several 
eoncerts. They were, in every sense, impromptu 



92 ADVENTURES IK THE WILDERNESS. 

affairs. The audience was small, but very appreci- 
ative. (That sentence is not original. I boiTowed 
it from the musical column of the New York Her- 
ald.) These concerts were especially well sus- 
tained ; that is, for about four hours and a half 
each time. We had some very fine singing at 
those soirees. {Soirees is a good word. It sounds 
well. That 's why I use it.) I hesitate to in- 
stance individual members of this troupe, lest it 
should seem invidious. Hubbard is an excellent 
singer. He missed his chance of eminence when 
he went into business. He should have taken to 
the stage. The Parson would have distinguished 
himself, had he lived before notes were invented. 
Nothing in the world but notes prevents him from 
ranking first class. Even this fact did not pre- 
clude him from standing high in this company. 
Nevertheless, I am still impressed with the thought 
that he was born too late. I never listened to a 
circle of amateurs who seemed to rise so superior 
to the arbitrary dictum of the masters as did this. 
Not one of them, so far as I could observe, allowed 
any such artificial impediments as notes, pitch, 
time, and the like, to obstruct the splendid out- 
bursts of nature. In point of emphasis, which is, 
as all my readers know, the great desideratum in 
music, I judge them to be unrivalled. In that 
classic stanza, 

" There sat three crows upon a tree/' 



THE BALL. 93 

their emphasis was magnificent. But I was tell- 
ing about Everitt's fiddling. Nature dealt bounti- 
fully mth my friend in this respect. His capacity 
and perseverance in drawing a bow border on the 
marvellous. Indeed, he is a kind of animated mu- 
sical machine. Set him going, and he will play 
through the entire list of known tunes before he 
comes to a halt. His intense activity in this di- 
rection afforded the only possible solution for the 
greatest mystery of the camp, — Everitt's appetite 
while in the woods. I find in my " notes " a math- 
ematical calculation, made the fifth night in camp. 
It was the result of the gravest deliberation on 
the part of the whole company, and is beyond 
doubt nearly correct. This is the formula : — 

" Exhaustion of muscular fibre through fiddling, 
two pounds per night. Consumption of venison 
steak, three and a half pounds. 

" Net gain to Everitt, one pound and a half per 
night." 

This conclusion contributed materially to relieve 
the minds of the company from an anxiety con- 
cerning the possible results of the trip to Everitt. 

When I entered the room, drawn thither, as I 
have said, by the tones of the violin, the company 
were in full career. The intricacies of the Vir- 
ginia reel were being threaded out with a rapidity 
which, with ladies for partners, would have been 
rather embarrassing. After the quadrille, Spanish 



94 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

dance, and several others had been gone through, 
the floor was cleared for individual exhibitions 
of skill. Then was the double-shuffle executed 
with an energy never excelled. Gentlemen and 
guides contended in friendly rivalry. Everitt 
was in prime condition, and drew the bow with 
a vehemence which, if long continued, would 
have sent him out of the woods lighter in flesh 
by several pounds than when he came in. At last 
the floor was again cleared, partners chosen, and 
with every rule of etiquette observed, good old 
money-musk was honored, — partners gallantly 
saluted as if they were ladies, jewelled and fair^ 
and the company seated. 

At this point the proceedings assumed a new 
character. The conversation might be reported 
thus : — 

Guide. " I suppose you folks down in the settle- 
ments don't dance as we do ? " 

Everitt. "Well, no, not exactly. Our dances 
are largely French." 

Guide. " Do tell ! Well, now, how is that ? " 

Everitt. " I do not think I could give you a cor- 
rect idea of them ; they are very peculiar." 

Guide. " Come, now, could n't some of you give 
us a notion about it ? We would like to see how 
you dance down in the cities." 

Everitt. " The fact is, we have more action in 
our dancing than you have in yours. It would 



THE BALL. 95 

make your eyes stick out to see a French 
dance." 

Guides. " Come, now," they all shouted, " show 
us how it is done ; we all want to see. Give us one 
of your tip-top French dances. Come, now." 

" Well, fellows," said Everitt, giving us the wink 
as he tuned his violin, " what say you, shall we 
show our friends how to dance a real, swinging 
French dance ? If so, shall we put Hubbard or 
Southwick on the floor ? " 

" 0, Southwick by all means ! " shouted Burns. 
" No disparagement to Hubbard, but Southwick is 
the man ; especially if he will give us the dance 
he danced last summer on our fishing-trip ' Down 
East.' " So it was arranged, and Southwick took 
the liint and the floor. 

Now Southwick was the best dancer there ; that 
is, he covered the most ground. His performance 
was the theme of universal remark. His style 
was superb. There was a certain cibcmdon in it, 
which few Americans could rival. I know of but 
one word which can at all describe Southwick 
when dancing ; it is — omnipresent. This epithet 
is moderately accurate. 

The room was some thirty-five feet long, but he 
was often at both ends of it at the same time. If 
to rivet the attention of the audience is success, 
my friend certainly achieved it. There was but 
one thought on the part of the whole company 



96 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

whenever South wick danced ; it was to get out of 
the w^ay. Greater unanimity in this respect was 
never seen. Never, before that evening, did I de- 
sire that a room might have more than four corners, 
hut I more than once devoutly wished that that 
room had had sixteen. Sixteen would not have 
been one too many, with my friend on the floor. I 
called Uncle Palmer's attention to the terrible lack 
of corners in his house. At the time I made the 
suggestion, the old gentleman was trying to force 
himself in between the door-post and the sheath- 
ing. He appeared to appreciate it. After a few 
preliminary flourishes, Everitt shouted the w^ord 
" Go ! " and Southwick struck out. I saw him com- 
ing, and dodged; I escaped. The next time he 
swung round, I was prepared for him. There were 
several wooden pins driven into the logs near the 
ceiling, such as our forefathers were wont to season 
their beef-hams on. Spying one of these just over 
my head, as I stood flattened against the wall, I 
vaulted from the floor and clutched it. The scene 
from this point of view w^as very picturesque. The 
fellows had observed my movement, and followed 
my example : it affected them like an inspiration. 
In an instant the whole company were suspended 
from pins around the room. A sense of the ludi- 
crous overcame my terror, and I began to laugh. 
That laugh grew on me. I found myself unable to 
stop laughing. My eyes began to moisten and run 



THE BALL. 97 

over. N'ow, a man cannot laugh in that fashion, and 
hang on to a pin at the same time. I have tried 
it, and know. First one finger began to slip, then 
another loosened and gave way a little ; the mus- 
cles of my hand would not obey my will to con- 
tract. I found it impossible to retighten my grip ; 
I knew it would probably be fatal to drop. I 
endeavored to stop laughing. Now, it is a well- 
known fact, that when one tries to stop laugh- 
ing he can't. If you ever doubted this, reader, 
never doubt it again. If any man strove to stop, 
I did. My effort was vain. I fairly shook my- 
self off the pin, and dropped. That sobered 
me. The instant I struck the floor, all laugh- 
ter departed. I saw Southwick coming. I seized 
hold of the window-sill, the wood of which 
was cedar ; I sunk my nails deep into it ; it 
held. The next time he swung round the circle 
I was saved by a miracle, that is, in a way 
I cannot account for. I was just poising my- 
self for a plunge at the door, when the music 
ceased, and my friend sat down. We all cheered 
him immensely. I cheered louder than all the 
rest. I never had greater cause to cheer. Every- 
body complimented him. One exclaimed, " What 
a free action ! " another, " How liberal in style ! " 
I said, " Astonishing ! " We all saw that it had 
made a great impression on the guides. They said 
that " they had no idea folks danced so, down in 
ft • 



98 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

the settlements," " It is n't anything to what I 
could do if the room w^as only larger, is it ? " said 
he, appealing to me. " ISTo ; this room is terribly 
cramped," I responded, thinking of my narrow 
escape, and fearful that he might repeat the per- 
formance ; " no educated dancer can do himself 
justice in it; Iw^ould not try again, if I were in 
your place." 

At this point of the entertainment a delightful 
addition was made to the party. Certain messen- 
gers, who started early in the evening on horses 
and in boats, had scoured the country and lake 
shore, and returned accompanied by a bevy of 
young ladies. Their entrance caused great com- 
motion. Hubbard glanced uneasily at his un- 
polished boots. Burns had fished a pair of old 
kids from the depth of his hunting-shirt pocket, 
and was inspecting their condition behind South- 
wick's back. Everitt suddenly discovered that he 
could keep his seat without the use of three chairs. 
The Parson brightened up at the prospect that his 
philippic against dancing, and the "promiscuous 
mingling of the sexes," might yet be delivered 
with effect. There was a dead pause. All were 
introduced to the ladies, each guide presenting 
" his man." Uncle Palmer's benignant face ap- 
peared at the door, looking perfectly jubilant. 

Here the ^\Titer would gladly pause. He feels 
*fiat the narration has proceeded far enough. 



THE BALL. 99 

Would tliat he might record that the company 
played " blind-man's-buff," or " roll the trencher/' 
or those refined "ring plays" where healthy and 
moral exhilaration is experienced by each man 
hugging and kissing his partner. But his duty 
as a historian forbids. Truth must not be muti- 
lated through partiality for friends; and, as a 
chronicler of facts, he is bound to say, affirm, and 
transmit to posterity, that the company actually 
danced! Yes, that is the word, — danced. tem- 
pora I mores ! which, freely translated, signifies 
" What is the w^orld coming to ! " Eeader, pardon 
thi-s exhibition of virtuous feeling, this generous 
outburst against the vices of the day. Even He- 
rodotus could not have restrained himself, in my 
position. But I must return to the historic style, 
— the plain narration of facts. 

First, Uncle Palmer led off with his wife, — age 
countenancing the foibles of youth ! Then Uncle 
Ike Robinson tripped doAvn the floor with his 
daughter. Next, ye gods ! Hubbard whirled 
away with a nimble-footed damsel. Burns shot 
by with little Miss Palmer, and Southwick, the 
indomitable, careered along the floor with Jerry, 
his guide. (Which was the lady I cannot say.) 
And last of all, " John," the trusty, honest John, 
whizzed past with a lovely attachment to his arm. 
The costumes of the dancers were unique. In cut 
and color no one could complain of sameness. 



100 adventurp:s in the wilderness. 

Uncle Ike was in his stockings. John had on 
tightly-laced moccasins. Southwick sported a pair 
of bright scarlet slippers. Hubbard shook the floor 
with boots that had seen service on the " carry." 
All were mingled together; while above the din 
made by heavy boots smiting the resounding floor, 
the merry laugh of girls, and peals of irrepressible 
mirth, the voice of Everitt, who sat perched upon 
the back of a chair, sawing away w^ith all his 
might, rang out the necessary orders. It has been 
reported that at this juncture the Parson himseK 
w^as swept by the centripetal attraction into the 
revolving mass, and that the way he " cut it down " 
revealed a wonderful aptness for the " double-shuf- 
fle," and that a large amount of the old Adam 
remained yet to be purged out of his natural con- 
stitution. The probabilities are that this report is 
entirely unfounded, or at least grossly exaggerated. 
At last, well along in the fashionable hours, the 
revelry ceased, the company separated, and silence 
settled down over the household. With the sounds 
the scene itself would have passed away and been 
forgotten save by the actors, had not the pen of 
the Parson rescued it from threatened oblivion, 
and in these pages preserved it for transmission 
to posterity. He thus avenges himself on those 
who interrupted him in the exercise of his right, 
by recounting the folly his speech would undoubt- 
edly have prevented, had he been permitted to 
proceed. 



V. 

LOON-SHOOTING IN A THUNDER-STORM. 

THE shrill cry of a loon piercing the air broke 
my heavy slumber, and brought me to my 
feet in an instant, rifle in hand. The night before, 
late in the evening, we had run our boat ashore, and, 
stretching ourselves on either side of the quickly 
lighted camp-fire, with no shelter but the overhang- 
ing trees, dropped instantly to sleep. From that 
slumber, almost as deep as that which is endless, 
the cry of a loon had aroused me. Directly in 
front of the camp, with his long black head and 
spotted back glistening in the sun, some fifteen 
rods from the shore, the magnificent bird sat, 
eying the camp. If there is any sound which will 
start a fellow to his feet quicker than the cry of a 
loon under his camp, about six in the morning, I 
have yet to hear it. Wide awake the instant I 
struck the perpendicular, I dropped my rifle — 
never in those woods, hj day or night, beyond 
reach — into the extended palm, and simultane- 
ously the sharp concussion broke the surrounding 
silence. The sight was good, and the lead well sent ; 
but the agile bird, — well named the Great Northern 



102 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

Diver, — ever on the alert, liad gone under with the 
flash ; and the bullet, striking the swirl made by 
his dive, glanced up, and went bounding, in ever- 
lessening skips, across the lake. The crack of the 
rifle awoke John from a slumber such as men sleep 
after fourteen hours of constant rowing ; and, start- 
ing up, the fire was soon rekindled, and the coffee 
boiling. Soon all was ready, and we were pro- 
visioning ourselves for the coming day. Trout, 
coffee, and the inevitable flapjacks made up the 
bill of fare. 

The morning, in its atmospheric appearances, was 
peculiar. Not a breath of air was stirring. The 
little lake was as liquid glass, without ripple or 
seam. Even the forest, that, like the sensitive 
strings of a harp, is rarely, if ever, silent, sent 
forth no sound, and its dim recesses were still as 
death. Above, the clouds w^ere dull and slaty. 
They, too, hung motionless. No scud drifted 
athwart their surface ; no rift broke their smooth 
expanse. The sun, wdth its broad face barred with 
streaks of cloud, looked red and fiery. It had 
a hot, angry look, as if em^aged at seeing the ob- 
structions in its upward path. In the west, out 
of the slaty cloud, the white and feathery heads of 
some cumuli upreared themselves, suggesting rain 
and the hot blaze of lightning. 

"John," said I, as we each sat with a warm 
trout in one hand and a pint-cup of coffee in 



LOON-SHOOTING IN A THUNDER-STORM. 103 

the other, — " John, we shall have a tough day 
of it." 

" Yes," said he, pausing a moment in his eating to 
listen, and holding on with one hand to the tail of 
a fish, of which the front half was already beyond 
human sight ; " there goes some thunder now "; and 
even as he spoke a jar shook the earth under us, 
and a heavy roar rolled up sullenly out of the west. 

We finished our meal, and then, liohtino- our 
pipes, seated ourselves on the shore of the lake, in 
counsel. The air was heavy, thick, and oppressive ; 
not a sound broke the stillness. Had the heavens 
above us been the roof of a cavern a thousand 
fathoms under earth, the breathless quiet could not 
have been deeper. The colloquy ran something in 
this wise : — 

" How long is the next carry, John ? " 

" Three miles, if we go to Bottle Pond ; a mile 
and a half, if we go to Salmon Lake," was the 
answer. 

" How is the carry to Bottle Pond ? " I asked. 

" A mere trapper's line," said John ; " it is n't 
cut out ; two miles and a half by blazed trees, and 
half a mile of slough." 

" That 's delightful ! " I exclaimed ; " how is it by 
way of Salmon Lake ? " 

"It 's a mile and a half to Salmon," was the 
response ; " not cut out ; crossed only in winter by 
hunters ; half a mile of swamp." 



104 ADVENTURES E.^ THE WILDERNESS. 

" Well, we '11 go to Salmon Lake ; that 's the 
nigher," I said. " Shall we get rain ? " 

As John was about to reply, a dull, heavy sound 
came up from the depths of the forest, — a solemn, 
ominous sound, breaking the dead silence. An- 
other and another followed ; a muffled roar, filling 
the air, so that one might not tell from what quar- 
ter it came. 

" Yes," said John, as the noise died away, — " yes. 
it will rain. The old trees never lie. Those sounds 
you have just heard are made by falling trees. 
You always hear them before a storm." 

" But, John," I exclaimed, " what makes them 
fall this morning ? There is not a breath of air 
stirring." 

" I don't know," responded John, " what makes 
them fall. I have often thought how queer it is. 
J\Iany a time have I sat in my canoe on a morn- 
ing like this, when there was not wind enough 
to float a feather, and seen the old fellows come 
crasliing down. I tell you wdiat," continued he, 
" it makes a man feel solemn, to see tree after tree, 
great, giant chaps, a hundred and fifty feet high, 
begin all of a sudden to quiver and reel, and then 
fall headlong to the ground ; when, for aught you 
can see, there is no eartlily cause for it. Let us sit 
still a moment and hear them." 

I did as requested. N'ow, far away in the forest, 
the same dull, heavy roar would arise, linger a mo- 



LOON-SHOOTING IN A THUNDER-STORM. 105 

ment in the air, then die away. Then, nigli at hand, 
a rushing sound, as the broom-like top of some 
mighty pine swept through the air, would fall 
upon the ear, followed by the crash of broken 
boughs and the heavy thump of the huge trunk 
as it smote the eartli. Then, far aAvay, half 
smothered between the mountains, would rise 
again the dull roar, and we knew another mon- 
arch of the woods had yielded its life at an 
unknown sunmions. 

I am free to confess, that John's remark as tc 
tlie effect of such a phenomenon upon one, was 
then and there fully verified by myself. I know 
nothing more mysteriously solemn than this sound 
of falling trees coming up from the forest, — falling, 
so far as you can see, without cause. AVhat unseen 
hand smites them ? What pressure, unfelt by man, 
pushes their vast trunks over ? Is it to the Spirit 
of the coming Storm they bow, prostrating them- 
selves in anticipation of liis chariot's approach ? Is 
there some subtle and hostile chemistry in the air 
which penetrates their fibres, weakening them to 
their fall? Or do these aged patriarchs of the 
wood, with fearful prophecy, foresee their houi 
of doom, and, in the breathless lull ere the tem- 
pest breaks, yield like an ancient Eoman to theii 
fate? 

" Perchance," I said to Jolm, " He who noteth 
the falling of a sparrow and marketh the boundary 

5* 



106 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

of human life, lit.t'i given the trees a limit also, 
which they may not pass ; and these are being 
summoned, and so go down." 

We sat a moment in silence ; then, with a com- 
mon impulse, witliout a word, arose, and, gathering 
up our traps, made ready for a start. As we pushed 
out into the lake, we saw that the clouds in the 
west were blacker ; a flash of lightning ran along 
their upper verge, and the mountain above us 
caught up the hea^y boom, and, as if enraged at 
fche intrusion on its silence, hurled it back angrily 
toward the cloud. At the same instant the shrill, 
mocking cry of a loon rose into the air, mingling 
with the reverberations of the thunder, as light 
treble notes break sharply through a heavy vol- 
ume of bass. 

" There 's the confounded loon," exclaimed John, 
" that frightened the deer from the shore last night. 
If it was n't for that thunder-sliower in the west, 
we 'd teach her to keep her mouth shut before we 
Left the pond. I think you might start the 
feathers off her back any way, tube or no tube." 

The last sentence needs explanation. Loons 
are the shyest and most expert swimmers of all 
waterfowl. Twenty rods is as near as you can get 
to them. When under fire, they sink themselves 
into the water so that nothing but the feathers 
along their backs and heads are in sight, and so 
quick are they that they dive at the flash, getting 



LOON-SHOOTING IN A THUNDER-STORM. 107 

under in time to escape the bullet. Yet 1 have 
killed them repeatedly on Long Island Sound, driv- 
ing my bullet through the butt of the wing, thirty 
rods away. There are two styles of gun-tubes ; the 
first kind is so open as to allow the powder to pass 
up to the cap. When the cap explodes, this pow- 
der must burn grain by grain, and so comparative- 
ly slow. The other kind is so made as to prevent 
the powder from passing up into it; and the 
lightning-like percussion has free course to the 
centre of the charge in the chamber. Slight as the 
difference would seem to be, it is a vital one in 
loon-shooting. With tubes of either make in the 
barrels of my rifle, loading with the same charge, I 
have kiUed with the one and invariably failed to 
kiU with the other. Unfortunately, the tubes in my 
barrels this season were both open ones ; and to this 
John alluded in his closing remark. 

" John," said I, counting out fifty bullets and 
laying them on the bottom of the boat within 
easy reach, *' there are fifty bullets ; and if you 
say the word, shower or no shower, we '11 gi^'e that 
old loon a lively time before we strike the carry." 

" Well," said Jolm as he ran his eye over the 
western heavens, now black as night, save when a 
bright flash clove the darkness or leaped crinkling 
along the inky mass, " let 's give her a try. We 
shall have an hour, anyway, before the rain reaches 
us, and I would like to see that loon in the bottom 
of the boat." 



108 ADVENTURES IN THE mLDERNESS. 

Dipping liis paddle into the water with a strong 
sweep, he turned the bow of the light boat about, 
and started toward the bird. Light as a cork the 
loon sat upon the water, some sixty rods away, its 
neck, marked with alternate rings of white and 
black, proudly arched, and almost at every breath 
sending forth its clarion cry, as if in boastful chal- 
lenge. 

" Sound away, you old pirate you ! " exclaimed 
John, as he swept along ; " we '11 make you shorten 
your neck, and sit lower in the water before we 
are through with you." 

And even as he spoke the bird settled slowly 
do^Ti, until nothing but a line of feathers lay along 
the water, and the quick, restless head, with its 
sharp-pointed bill, was barely above the surface. 

" See her," said John ; " I warrant she has smelt 
powder and heard the whistle of lead before this. 
I wish she did n't know quite so much, or else that 
that cloud would pass back of the mountains." 

The plan proposed was to keep her under wa- 
ter, giving her no time to rest after her long dives, 
and so tire her out that she would be forced to rise 
often to the surface to breathe. Before we had 
come within forty rods the loon went under. 

" Now," shouted John, as he shot the boat to- 
ward the wake, " the Lord only knows where she '11 
come up ; but we will take that swirl of water for 
our centre, and, when she breaks, you show her 
what she may expect." 



LOON-SHOOTING IN A THUNDER-STORM. 109 

" There she rises," I exclaimed, as we swept over 
the wake. " Steady with your paddle, there " ; and 
as I spoke, catching the line of feathers along the 
sights, I launched the buUet toward her. 

" Well done ! " said John, as the spray made by 
the smitten water broke oyer her webbed feet, 
jerked out of the lake by her frantic effort to get 
under ; " load quick, and saye the other barrel for 
emergencies." 

After some twenty shots she began to come more 
quickly to the surface ; and as we took the wake 
she made in diying for our centre, the circumference 
described through her position when she arose grew 
nearer and nearer to the boat. 

" Now," said John, as the loon went under for the 
twenty-fifth time, " when she rises again take her 
before she shakes the water out of her eyes. I 
saw the direction of the diye, and she will come up 
in the line of that dead hemlock there." 

I fastened my eyes upon the spot, and, catcliing 
the first ripple through the sights, the ball struck 
aboye her back before a feather was in sight. 
Whether tlie Inillet had ruffled her plumage some- 
what, or from some other cause, for the first time 
she rose in the water and shook her narrow wings, 
uttering a defiant cry. 

" Steady there," I whispered hoarsely to John. 
For an instant the tottlish boat, which the weisfht 
of my ramrod would jar, stood, held by the paddle. 



110 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

as motionless as though embedded in ice ; and as 
the sharp crack of the other barrel sounded, the 
loon was knocked flat over upon her back. 

"There, you old — " 

I don't know exactly what John was about to 
say, for he did not say it ; for as he spoke the loon, 
with a mighty splash, went down, leaving a hun- 
dred feathers around her wake. The bullet had 
rasped along her side, shearing off the speckled 
plumage, but had not penetrated sufficiently deep 
into her body to disable her. By this time the 
heavens, toward the west, even to the zenith, were 
black as ink. The red lightning darted its zig- 
zag course this way and that, amid the gloom; 
white, fleecy clouds raced athwart the dark expanse, 
and ever and anon a fierce whirlwind, in minia- 
ture, would settle down upon the water, and spin 
across the glassy bosom of the lake ; while the 
thunder, peal on peal, crashed above the moun- 
tains, until the very air and water shook and quiv- 
ered at the shock. To a looker-on the scene would 
have been grand in the extreme. Amid the gath- 
ering gloom, now dense as twilight, the light boat 
Avent moving hither and tliither, now gliding straight 
ahead, now swerving in lessening circles around the 
spot of the anticipated rising, while above the crack- 
ling thunder rose the clear report of the rifle, whose 
barrels, choked with smut, and dangerously hot 
from rapid firing, rang fiercely sharp, as if in angry 



LOON-SHOOTING IN A THUNDER-STORM. Ill 

protest at the abuse. The gloom grew darker. 
The wind, in quick, nervous puffs, broke o\^er the 
mountain, and where it touched the lake lifted 
the spray high into the air. A few plunging drops 
of rain smote the water and boat like bullets. 
The hot lightning fairly hissed through the murky 
atmosphere above us ; so sharp, so bright, so close, 
that the lake at times seemed as on fire, burnino- 
with a blue, ghastly light. The thunder was inces- 
sant. The dwellers in lowland countries know 
nothing what thunder is amid the hills. Xo single 
clap or peal was there, but rush and roar continu- 
ous, and crackling bolts and rumble and jar. Across 
the lake, over our heads, the volleys went. The 
mountain eastward, receiving a bolt against its 
sides, would roll it back, while the mountain op- 
posite, catching the mighty boom as players do a 
ball, would hurl it sharply home. And so the wild 
play A\ ent on. ]\Iountain besieging mountain, hill 
pelting hill ; while we, amid the deepening gloom 
and tumult, swept hither and thither, keeping sight 
of the loon, whose rises were frequent and breath 
nearly gone. 

" John," said I, shouting so he could hear me amid 
the confusion^, — " John, pull for the shore ; it 's 
time to go." 

" Give her one more " said John ; " here she rises, 
over your left " ; and as the smoke from the dis- 
charge floated up, split by a gust, John shouted : 



112 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

* Eeacly with your other barrel there. The loon 
is tiring. I hear her blow Avhen she comes up. 
She can't stay under long. I '11 run you down 
upon her soon. HEEE she is ! " he screamed, 
" under your very muzzles ! " 

I turned, and sure enough there sat the loon 
within six feet of the boat, in the very act of shak- 
ing the water from her eyes. The rifle lay across 
my knee, the barrels in direct line with the bird. 
Without lifting it, or moving an inch, I pulled, 
and water, smoke, and feathers flew into the air 
together. A loud '•' quack " from the loon, and a 
convulsive yell from John, his mouth opening and 
shutting spasmodically as roar after roar of almost 
hysterical laughter came pouring out, followed the 
discharge. I was just fitting a cap to a freshly 
charged barrel, when the loon broke tlie water 
again at short range, her back nearly bare of 
feathers ; and as she dived anothe^ tuft flew up, 
cut by the passing ball, and John pronounced her 
" nearly picked." But now the storm broke over 
the mountain. The rush and roar and crash of 
wind and thunder drowned the report, and only 
by the flash might a spectator know I Avas firing. 
The gloom grew thicker. A cloud settled over the 
lake, and we were wrapped within its fleecy folds. 
Only once more, as a flash clove tlirough the fog, I 
saw the loon, and fired. Then dense and dark the 
storm swept down around us. Wild, fitful gusts 




liliiiiiliiiiiiiiiiliiliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii^ 



LOON-SHOOTIXG IN A THUNDER-STORM. 113 

tore through the air. The lightning crinkled through 
the fog ; white patches of froth and splashing 
drops of rain drifted over and fell into the boat ; 
while, as a bass to the wild minstrelsy of bursting 
bolts, the dull, monotonous, roar of the storm, 
whose heavy-footed squadrons were charging over^ 
the mountain's brow, rose with dread, augmenting 
grandeur. The quivering of the frail boat told me 
that John was vigorously plying his paddle ; and 
in a moment we shot into the lily-pads, and, pull- 
ing our boat ashore, turned it bottom side up and 
crawled under it, just as the grayish sheet of plung- 
ing water swept over us, and the floods came down. 
There we lay, safely sheltered, regretting tlie 
storm, and recounting the ludicrous passages of 
the contest, until the water, gathering in a pool 
beneath the boat, saturated our garments and 
warned us to be moving. Suggesting to John that 
" we had better not stay under that boat until it 
floated off," we crawled out from under our tempo- 
rary shelter ; which, John remarked, " had a good 
roof, but a mighty poor cellar." Standing, as a pre- 
liminary caution, long enough in the rain to get thor- 
oughly wet, we prepared for the start. An uncut 
carry for nearly two miles lay before us, the first 
half of which ran directly through a swamp, now 
filled to overflowing witli water. AVe had a tough 
experience in getting through, which the reader 
will find described in the next chapter. 



VI. 

CROSSING THE CARRY. 

" JOHN," said I, as we stood looking at each 
I other across the boat, " this rain is Avet." 

'^ It generally is, up in this region, I believe," 
he responded, as he wiped the water out of his 
eyes with the back of his hand, and shook the ac- 
cumulating drops from nose and chin ; " hut the 
waterproof I have on has lasted me some thirty- 
eight years, and I don't think it will wet through 
to-day." 

" Well ! " I exclaimed, " there is no use of stand- 
ing here in this marsh-grass any longer ; help me 
to load up. I '11 take the baggage, and you the 
boat." 

" You '11 never get through with it, if you try to 
take it all at once. Better load light, and I '11 
come l^ack after what 's left," was the answer. 
" I tell you," he continued, " the swamp is full of 
water, and soft as muck." 

" John," said I, " that baggage is going o^'cr at 
one load, sink or swim, live or die, survive or per- 
ish. I '11 make the attempt, swamp or no swamp. 
My life is assured against accidents by fire, water, 



CROSSING THE CARRY. 115 

and mud ; so here goes. What 's life to glory ? " I 
exclaimed, as I seized the pork-bag, and dragged 
it from under the boat ; " stand by and see me put 
my armor on." 

Over my back I slung the provision-basket, 
made like a fisherman's creel, thirty inches by 
forty, filled with plates, coffee, salt, and all the 
impedimenta of camp and cooking utensils. This 
was held in its place by straps passing over the 
shoulders and under the arms, like a Jew-pedler's 
pack. There might have been eighty pounds 
weight in it. Upon the top of the basket John 
lashed my knapsack, full of bullets, powder, and 
clothing. My rubber suit and lieavy blanket, 
slung around my neck by a leather thong, hung 
down in front across my chest. On one shoulder, 
the oars and paddles were balanced, with a frying- 
pan and gridiron swinging from the blades; on 
the other was my rifle, from which were sus- 
pended a pair of boots, my creel, a coffee-pot, and 
a bag of flour. Taking up the bag of pork in one 
hand, and seizing the stock of the rifle with the 
other, from two fingers of which hung a tin ket- 
tle of prepared trout, which we were loath to throw 
away, I started. Picture a man so loaded, forcing 
his way through a hemlock swamp, through whose 
floor of thin moss he sank to his knees ; or pick- 
ing his way across oozy sloughs on old roots, often 
covered with mud and water, an<.l slippery beyond 



Z16 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

description, and you have me dagnerreotyped in 
your mind. Well, as I said, I started. For some 
dozen rods I got on famously, and was congratulat- 
ing myself with the thought of an easy transit, 
when a root upon which I had put my right foot 
gave way, and, plunging headlong into the mud, 
I struck an attitude of petition ; while the frying- 
pan and gridiron, flung off the oars and forward by 
the movement, alighted upon my prostrated head. 
An ejaculation, not exactly religious, escaped me, 
and with a few desperate flounces I assumed once 
more the perpendicular. Fishing the frying-pan 
from the mud, and lashing the gridiron to my belt, 
I made another start. It was hard work. The 
most unnatural adjustment of weight upon my 
back made it difficult to ascertain just how far 
behind me lay the centre of equilibrium. I found 
where it did not lie, several times. Before I had 
gone fifty rods, the camp-basket weighed one hun- 
dred and twenty pounds. The pork-bag felt as 
if it had several shoats in it, and the oar-blades 
stuck out in the exact form of an X. If I went 
one side of a tree, the oars would go the other 
side. If I backed up, they would manage to get 
entangled amid the brush. If I stumbled and 
fell, the confounded things would come like a 
goose-poke athwart my neck, pinning me down. 
As I proceeded, the mud grew deeper, the roots 
farther apart, and the blazed trees less frequent. 



CROSSING THE CARRY. 117 

Never before did I so truly realize the aspiration 
of the old hymn, — 

" 0, had I the wings of a dove ! " 

At last I reached, what seemed impossible to 
pass, — an oozy slough, crossed here and there 
by cedar roots, smooth and slippery, lay before me. 
From a high stump which I had climbed upon I 
gave a desperate leap. I struck where I expected, 
und a little fartlier. The weight of the basket, 
which was now something over two hundred 
pounds, was too much for me to check at once. It 
pressed me forward. I recovered myself, and the 
sibominable oars carried me as far the other way. 
Tlie moccasins of wet leather began to slip along 
the roots. They began to slip very often ; and, at 
bad times. I found it necessary to change my posi- 
tion suddenly. I changed it. It was n't a perfect 
success. I tried again. It seemed necessary to 
keep on trying. I suspect I did not effect the 
changes very steadily, for the trout began to jump 
about in the pail and fly out into the mud. The 
gridiron got uneasy, and played against my side 
Like a steam-flapper. In fact, the whole baggage 
seemed endowed with supernatural powers of 
motion. The excitement was contagious. In a 
moment, every article was jumping about like 
mad. I, in the mean time, continued to dance a 
hornpipe on the slippery roots. Now I am con- 



118 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

scientiously opposed to dancing. I never danced. 
I did n't want to learn. I felt it was wicked for 
me to be hopping around on that root so. What 
an example, I thought, if John should see me ! 
What would my wife say ? What would my dea- 
cons say ? I tried to stop. I could n't. I had 
an astonishing^ dislike to sit down. I thouo-ht I 
would dance there forever, rather than sit doTVTi, — 
deacons or no deacons. The basket now wei^^hed 
any imaginable number of pounds. The trout 
were leaping about my head, as if in their native 
element. The gridiron was in such rapid motion, 
that it was impossible to distinguish the bars. 
There was, apparently, a whole litter of pigs in the 
pork-bag. I could not stand it longer. T con- 
cluded to rest awhile. I wanted to do the thing 
gracefully. I looked around for a soft spot, and 
seeing one just behind me, I checked myself. My 
feet flew out from under me. They appeared to be 
unusually light. I don't remember that I ever sat 
down quicker. Tlie motion was very decided. 
The only difficulty I observed was, that the seat I 
had gracefully settled into had no bottom. The 
position of things was extremely picturesque. 
The oars were astride my neck, as usual. The 
trout-pail was bottom up, and the contents lying 
about almocl anywhere. The boots were hanging 
on a dry limb overhead. A capital idea. I thought 
of it as I was in the act of sitting down. One 



CROSSING THE CARRY. 119 

piece of pork lay at my feet, and another was 
sticking up, some ten feet off, in the mud. It 
looked very queer, — slightly out of place. With 
the same motion with which I hung my boots on 
a Umb, as I seated myself, I stuck my rifle care- 
fully into the mud, muzzle downward. I never saw 
a gun in that position before. It struck me as 
being a good thing. There was no danger of its 
falling over and breaking the stock. The first 
thing I did was to pass the gridiron under me. 
When that feat was accomplished, I felt more com- 
posed. It 's pleasant for a man in the position I 
was in to feel that he has something under him. 
Even a chip or a small stump would have felt 
comfortable. As I sat thinking how^ many uses a 
gridiron could be put to, and estimating where I 
should then have been if I had n't got it under 
me, I heard John forcing his way, with the boat 
on his back, throui^h the thick undergrowth. 

" It won't do to let John see me in this posi- 
tion," I said; and so, with a mighty effort, I 
disengaged myself from the pack, flung off the 
blanket from around my neck, and seizing hold 
of a spruce limb which I could fortunately reach, 
drew myself slowly up. I had just time to jerk 
the rifle out of the mud and fish up about half of 
the trout, when John came struojcrlinGf alongj. 

"John," said I, leaning unconcernedly against 
a tree, as if nothing had happened, — " John, 



120 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

put dv./^vn the boat, here's a splendid spot to 
rest." 

"Well, Mr. Murray," queried John, as he 
emerged fi'om under the boat, " how are you get- 
ting along ? " 

" Capitally ! " said I ; " the Carry is very level 
when you once get down to it. I felt a little out 
of breath, and thought I would wait for you a few 
moments." 

" What 's your boots doing up there, in that 
tree ? " exclaimed John, as he pointed up to where 
they hung dangling from the limb, about fifteen 
feet above our heads. 

" Boots doing ! " said I, " wdiy they are hanging 
there, don't you see. You did n't suppose I 'd 
drop them into this mud, did you ? " 

" Why, no," replied John, " I don't suppose you 
w juld ; but how about this ? " he continued, as 
he stooped down and pulled a big trout, tail fore- 
most, out of the soft muck ; " how did that trout 
come there ? " 

" It must have got out of the pail, somehow," 
I responded ; " I thought I heard something drop, 
just as I sat down." 

" What in thunder is that, out there ? " ex^ 
claimed John, pointing to a piece of pork, one 
end of which was sticking about four inches out 
of the water ; " is that pork ? " 

" Well, the fact is, John," returned I, speaking 




"^ 



CROSSING THE CARRY. 121 

with tlie utmost gravity, and in a tone intended to 
suggest a mystery, — " the fact is, John, I don't 
quite understand it. This Carry seems to be all 
covered over with pork. I would n't be surprised to 
find a piece anywhere. There is another junk, 
now," I exclaimed, as I plunged my moccasin into 
the mud and kicked a two-pound bit toward him; 
" it 's lying all round here, loose." 

I thought John would split with laughter, but 
my time came, for as in one of his paroxysms he 
turned partly around, I saw that his back was 
covered with mud clear up to his hat. 

" Do you always sit down on your coat, John," 
I inquired, " when you cross a Carry like this ? " 

" Come, come," rejoined he, ceasing to laugh 
from very exhaustion, " take a knife or tin plate, 
and scrape the muck from my back. I always 
tell my wife to make my clothes a ground color, 
but the color is laid on a little too thick this 
time, anyway." 

" John," said I, after having scraped him do^vn, 
"take the paddle and spear my boots off from 
that limb up there, while I tread out this pork." 

Plunging into the slough, balancing here on a 
bog and there on an underlying root, I succeeded 
in concentrating the scattered pieces at one point. 
As I was shying the last junk into the bag, a 
disappointed grunt from John caused me to look 
around. I took in the situation at a glance. The 



122 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

boots were still suspended from the limb. The 
paddle and two oars had followed suit, and lay 
cosily amid the branches, while John, poising 
himself dexterously on the trunk of a fallen 
spruce, red in the face and vexed at his want of 
success, was wdiirling the frying-pan over his 
head, in the very act of letting it drive at the 
boots. 

" Go in, John ! " I shouted, seizing hold of the 
gridiron with one hand and a bag of bullets with 
the other, while tears stood in my eyes from very 
laughter ; " w^ien we 've got all the rest of the 
baggage up in that hemlock, I '11 pass up the boat, 
and we '11 make a camp." 

The last words were barely off my lips, when 
John, having succeeded in getting a firm footing, 
as he thought, on the slippery bark, threw all his 
strength into the cast, and away the big iron pan 
went whizzing up through the branches. But, 
alas for human calculation ! The rotten bark 
under his feet, rent by the sudden pressure as he 
pitched the cumbrous missile upward, parted from 
the smooth wood, and John, with a mighty thump 
which seemed ahuost to snap his head off, came 
dowai upon the trunk ; while the frying-pan, gyrat- 
ing like a broken-winged bird, landed rods away 
in the marsh. By this time John's blood was up, 
and the bombardment began in earnest. The fii-st 
thing he laid his hand on was the cofiPee-pot. I 



CROSSING THE CARRY. 123 

followed suit with the gridiron. Then my fishing- 
basket and a bag of bullets mounted upward. 
Never before was such a battle waged, or such 
weapons used. The air was full of missiles. Tin 
plates, oar-locks, the axe, gridiron, and pieces of 
pork were all in the air at once. How long the 
contest would have continued I cannot tell, had it 
not been brought to a glorious termination ; but at 
last the heavy iron camp-kettle, hurled by John's 
nervous wrist, striking the limb fair, crashed 
through like a forty-pound shot, and down came 
boots, oars, paddle, and all. Gathering the scat- 
tered articles together, we took our respective bur- 
dens, and pushed ahead. Weary and hot, we 
reached at length the margin of the swamp, and 
our feet stood once more upon solid ground. 

At this juncture another cloud from out of the 
west swept up the heavens, and its distended 
borders, heavy with rain, parted, and down the 
plunging torrents came. The wind, sweeping 
through the lofty pine-tops over our heads, 
sounded like the rush of airy squadrons charging 
to battle. The liohtninir blazed amid the descend- 
ing sheets of water, lurid and red, or shot its elec- 
tric currents amid the trees ; wdiile, overhead, peal 
and boom and rattling volleys rolled and broke. 
Forcing our way along through spruce and balsam 
thickets, and heaAy undergrowth of deer-bush, 
which flapped their broad flat leaves, loaded with 



124 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

water, into our eyes, we came upon a giant pine, 
which some descending bolt had struck, far up 
amid the topmost branches, and nven to the 
very roots. Huge slabs, twenty feet in length, and 
weighing hundreds of pounds, torn out from the 
very heart, throw^n a dozen rods on either side, 
and the ground strewn with yellow splinters, bore 
palpable witness of the lightning's power. Paus- 
ing a moment amid the wreck and ruin, look- 
ing into the yellow heart of that riven pine, weep- 
ing great drops of odorous gum, how weak the 
effort of man appeared beside the power of nature. 
What is our boasted strength of brawn and mus- 
cle compared with the terrific forces which lie hid- 
den amid the elements ? And what is ours or 
theirs beside the power of Him who holds their 
violence in check, and uses at will the wild chem- 
istry of the skies ? 

At length (for all journeys have an end) we 
tore our way through the last opposing thicket, 
and stood upon the coveted beach. The dreaded 
Carry was crossed ; and, as if to reward our toil 
and cheer our drooping spirits, even as we lay 
panting upon the wet sands, the cloud above us 
parted, and the bright sun came out, gemming the 
dripping trees with jewels, and swathing the lake 
in golden sheen. Patches of fleecy fog rose from 
the shores, and, changing to yellow mist as the 
sun warmed them, floated lazily along the moun- 



CROSSING THE CARRY. 125 

lain'* side. Kindling a fire, we cooked some 
coffe^, watching, as we drank it, the bright ver- 
milion bow which grew upon the eastern cloud, 
until it spanned the horizon from north to south ; 
from under whose arch of gold and azure the 
heavy-tongued thunder rolled its dying cadences 
Ca-' awciy eastward over the Eacquette. 



VII. 

ROD ANFD JR.FEL- 

'^ A /r R. MURRAY, wake up ! the pancakes are 
IVX ready i" shouted John. 
Aroused by the familiar cry, I arose, and, walk- 
ing down to the shore of the lake, waded out into 
its tide, and, plunging my head under water, held 
it there for a moment, while the delicious sense of 
coolness ran through my system ; then I raised it, 
turning my dripping face straight toward the bright, 
warm sun. the sweet experience of that mo- 
ment ! How cool the water ; how fresh the air ; 
how clear the sky; how fragrant the breath of 
balsam and of pine ! luxury of luxuries, to have 
a lake of crystal water for your wash-bowl, the 
morning zephyr for a towel, the whitest sand for 
soap, and the odors of aromatic trees for perfumes ! 
What belle or millionnaire can boast of such sur- 
roundings ? 

Fresh as an athlete in training, I returned to 
camp and to breakfast. Breakfast in the wilder- 
ness means something. No muttering about " those 
miserable rolls " ; no ya^vning over a small strip of 
steak, cut in the form of a parallelogram, an inch 



ROD AND REEL. 127 

and a half by three ; no lying about tawny-colored 
water by calling it " coffee." No ; but up in the 
woods you take a pancake, twelve inches across 
( just the diameter of the pan), and one inch thick, 
and go conscientiously to work to surround it. 
You seize a trout ten or fourteen inches long, and 
send it speedily to that bourne from whence no 
trout returns. You lay hold of a quart pan full 
of liquid which has the smack of real Java to it, 
made pungent with a sprinkling of Mocha; and 
the first you know you see your face in the bottom 
of the dish. And the joke is, you keep doing so, 
right along, for some thirty minutes or more, rising 
from each meal a bigger, if not a better man. 

The meal was finished. It did not take long to 
wash the dishes ; and over the remnants of what 
had once been a feast we sat in council. 

" John, what shall we do to-day ? " 

" Well, I think," said John, " we '11 take some 
trout. I told you, when we started, you should see 
a three-pounder before we got back ; and here we 
are within twenty miles of the Eacquette, and my 
promise unfulfilled. I know a little lake, hidden 
away back of that hard- wood ridge yonder, which 
is one huge spring-hole ; and when scouting through 
here on my own account, some six years ago, I 
took some fish from it such as you seldom see. I 
doubt if there has been a fly on it since ; and if 
the breeze will freshen a little, you 11 have rare 
sport." 



128 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

Soon after, John shouldered the boat, and we 
started. Some forty minutes' tramp, and we 
reached the shore and made our camp. From it 
the scene was delightful. The lake was nearly 
circular, some half a mile across, its waters deep 
and clear. Into it, so far as w^e could see, no w^ater 
came ; out of it no water went. It was, as John 
had called it, one huge spring-hole ; the mountains 
on all sides sloped gradually up, an unbroken sweep 
of pine and balsam, save where, at intervals, a 
silver-beech or round-leaved maple relieved the 
sombre color with lighter hues. Thus secluded, 
seldom visited by man, the little lake reposed, 
mirroring the surrounding hiUs in its cool depths, 
and guarded safely by them. We stepped into 
our boat and glided out toward the centre of the 
pool. Not a motion in the air ; not a ripple on 
the water. At last the beeches along the western 
slope began to rustle. The mournful pines felt the 
pressure of airy fingers amid their strings, and 
woke to solemn sound. The zephyr at length 
reached the lake, and the cool water thrilled into 
ripples at its touch ; while the pool, wdiich an in- 
stant before shone rmder the sun like seamless 
glass, shook with a thousand tiny undulations. 

" Now " said John, " if the fish have n't all 
drowned since I w^as here, you 11 see 'em soon. 
When one rises I '11 put you within casting dis- 
tance of the wake, and if he likes it he 'U take the 



ROD AND REEL. 129 

fly. If one takes, strike hard ; for their jaws are 
stout and bony, and you must hook them well or 
you '11 lose them in the struggle." 

We sat and watched. " There ! " suddenly 
shouted John ; " one is n't dead yet." And whirl- 
ing the boat about, he sent it flying toward a swirl 
in the water, some twenty rods away, made by a 
rising fish whose splash I had heard but did not 
see. We had traversed half the distance, perhaps, 
and all alert I sat, holding the coil and flies be- 
tween my fingers, ready for a cast, when, as we 
shot along, a bright vermilion flash gleamed for 
an instant far below us, and a broad, yellow-sided 
beauty broke the surface barely the length of my 
rod from the boat. The swoop of a swallow is 
scarcely swifter than was the motion of the boat as 
John shied it one side, and, with a stroke which 
would have snapped a less elastic paddle, sent it 
circling around the ripples where the fish went 
down. Twice did I trail the flies across the circle 
and meet with no response ; but hardly had the 
feathers touched the water at the third cast, when 
the trout came up with a rush. He took the fly as 
a hunter might take a fence, boldly. I struck, even 
as he hung in mid-air, and down he went. After a 
sharp fight of some ten minutes' length the trout 
yielded, the fatal net enclosed him, and he lay flap- 
ping within the boat. Thus five were captured in 
little more than an hour's time, good two-and-a- 

6* I 



130 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

half-pound fish each of them, — a string wnich a 
man might contemplate with pride. We paused 
a moment to give John time to inspect the tackle 
to see if it was all right. The trout had made 
sad work with the flies. The largest and strongest 
came out of their mouths bare to the shank. Five 
ruined flies lay with the five captured trout on 
the bottom of the boat. 

" Mr. Murray/' said John at length, as he sat 
looking at the mangled flies : " have n't you some- 
thing larger ? These trout are regular sharks." 

" Nothing," replied I, running over the leaves 
of my fly-book, " except these huge salmon-flies " ; 
and I held half a dozen gaudy fellows out to- 
ward him, the hooks of which were nearly two 
inches in length, covered with immense hackle of 
variegated floss, out of w^hose depths protruded 
a pair of enormous wings, and brilliant with hues 
of the ibis and the English jay. 

" Let 's try one, anj^vay," said John, laugh- 
ing. " Nothinoj is too big for a fish like that ! " 

o o o 

and he nodded his head toward a deep swirl made 
in the water as a monstrous fellow rose to the sur- 
face, closed his jaws on a huge dragon-fly that had 
stopped to rest a moment on the water, and, throw- 
ing his tail, broad as your hand, into the air, darted 
downw^ard into the silent depths. " There," con- 
tinued he, as he tossed the tuft of gay feathers 
mto the air, "that's the first pullet's-tail I ever 



ROD AND REEL. 131 

noosed on to a leader. A trout that takes tliat 
will be worth baking. Lengthen your line to tlie 
last foot you can cast, and when a big one rises 
I '11 put you within reach of his wake." 

We sat for several minutes in silence, watching. 
At last, some fifteen rods away, a magnificent fish 
shot up out of the water after a butterfly which 
chanced to be winging its way across the lake, and 
missing it by only a few inches, fell back with a 
splash into the very ripple he made in rising. 

" Now ! " shouted John, as he sent the light boat 
skimming over the water, " give him the feathers, 
and if he takes, sink the hook to the A'ery shank 
into his jaws." 

I pitched the coil into the air, and by the time 
it had fairly straightened itself out the boat was in 
reach of the wake ; and, obedient to the quick turn 
of the wrist, the huge fly leaped ahead. It had 
not reached the surface Ijy a yard, when the water 
parted and out came the trout, his mouth wide 
open, quivering from head to tail with the energy 
of the leap ; missed, as he had before, and fell back 
flat upon his side. 

" Quick, quick ! cast away ! " shouted John, as 
with a stroke of the paddle he sent the boat 
sheering off to give me room for the cast. 

Feeling that there was not an instant to lose, by 
a sudden jerk I caused the fly to mount straight 
up into the air, trusting to the motion of the boat 



132 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

to straighten the slack as it fell. John understood 
the motion ; the boat flew round as on a pivot, and 
glided backw^ard under the reversed stroke. It 
was well done, as only John could do it ; nor was 
it a second too soon ; for as the tuft of gay plumes 
alighted amid the ripples, the huge head of the 
trout came out of water, his mouth opened, and, 
as the feathers disappeared betw^een his teeth, I 
struck with all my might. Not one rod in tw^enty 
would have stood that blow. The fish w^as too 
heavy even to be turned an inch. The line 
sung, and w^ater flew out of the compressed 
braids, as though I had sunk the hook into an 
oak beam. 

Eeader, did you ever land a trout ? I do not 
ask if you ever jerked some poor little fellow out 
of a brook three feet across, with a pole six inches 
around at the butt, and so heavy as to require both 
hands and feet well braced to hold it out. No, 
that 's not landing a trout. But did you ever sit in 
a boat, with nine ounces of lance-wood for a rod, 
and two hundred feet of braided silk in your 
double-acting reel, and hook a trout wdiose strain 
brought tip and butt together as you checked him 
in some wild flight, and tested your quivering line 
from gut to reel-knot ? No one knows what game 
there is in a trout, unless he has fought it out, 
matching such a rod against a three-pound fish, 
with forty feet of water underneath, and a clear, 



ROD AND REEL. 133 

unimpeded sweep around him ! Ah, then it is 
that one discovers what will and energy lie with- 
in the mottled skin of a trout, and what a mir- 
acle of velocity he is when roused. I love the 
rifle, and I have looked along the sights and held 
the leaping blood back by an effort of will, steady- 
ing myself for the shot, when my veins fairly 
tingled with the exhilarating excitement of the 
moment ; but if one should ask me what is my 
conception of pure physical happiness, I should 
assure him that the highest bodily beatitude I 
ever expect to reach is, on some future day, when 
the clear sun is occasionally veiled by clouds, to 
sit in a boat once more upon that little lake, with 
John at the paddle, and match again a Conroy 
rod against a three-pound trout. That 's what I 
call hajjj^incss ! 

WeU, as I said, I struck ; and, as we afterwards 
discovered, the huge salmon-hook was buried to 
the shank amid the nerves which lie at the root of 
a trout's tongue. Then came a fight for the mas- 
tery such as never before had I waged with any- 
thing that swims. Words should have life in them 
to depict the scene. Quick as a flash, before I 
had fairly recovered my balance, partially lost by 
the energy with wliich I struck, the trout started, 
and before I could get a pressure upon the line, 
not twenty yards were left on the reel. A quick 
stroke from John, and the boat shot one side ; and 



134 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

bearing stoutly on him, tasking the rod to the last 
ounce of resistance, I slowly swayed him about 
and recovered a little slack. After a few short 
sw^eeps he doubled on the line and shot straight 
for the boat as an arrow from a bow. 

" Double, and be hanged to you ! " shouted John, 
as he shied the light shell to one side and swung it 
round so as to keep me facing the fish. " If you 
get under this boat it will be because this paddle 
breaks." 

Failing in his attempt to run under us, he dove 
to the bottom. " Let him rest a moment," said 
John ; " recover your line ; you 11 need it all when 
he rises. He 's big and ugly, and his next rush 
will be like lightning." 

After I had stowed aw^ay some forty yards of 
line upon the reel, winding it on hard and evenly, 
so that it would render well, I began to feel of the 
fish. The first pressure elicited only a shake. At 
the next he described a circle, still keeping to 
the bottom, then came again to a stand-still. He 
acted ugly. I felt that, when the rush came, it 
w^ould try nerve and tackle alike. Enjoining John 
to watch the fish and favor me all he could, and 
by no means to let him pass under the boat, I 
gave a quick, sharp jerk. My arm was still in 
the air and the rod unstraightened, when I caught 
a gleam far down below me, and before I had time 
to wink the huge fellow parted the water almost 



ROD AND REEL. 135 

within reach of my arm, and when high up in 
mid-air he shook himself, the crystal drops were 
flung into my very face. Perhaps I shall live long 
enough to forget the picture, as that trout for 
an instant hung in the air, his blue back and 
azure sides spotted with gold and agate, his 
fins edged with snowy white, his eyes protruding, 
gills distended, the leader hanging from his jaws, 
while a shower of pearly drops were shaken from 
his quivering sides. He fell; but while still 
in air the boat glided backward, and when he 
touched the water I was thirty feet away and ready 
for his rush. It came. And as he passed us, 
some forty feet off, he clove the w^ater as a bolt 
from a cross-bow might cleave the air. Possibly 
for five minutes the frenzy lasted. Not a word 
was uttered. The whiz of the line through the 
water, the whir of the flying reel, and an occa- 
sional grunt from John as the fish doubled on the 
boat, were the only sounds to be heard. AVhen, 
suddenly, in one of his wildest flights, the terribly 
taxed rod straightened itself out with a spring, 
the pressure ceased, the line slackened, and the 
fish again lay on the bottom. Wiping the sweat 
from my brow, I turned to John and said, " What 
do you think of that ? " 

" Mr. Murray," replied John, laying the paddle 
down and drawing the sleeve of his woollen shirt 
across his forehead, beaded with perspiration,— 



136 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

" Mr. Murray, that fisli is ugly ; if lie should get 
the line over his back, he 'd smash the rod like a 
pipe-stem ! " 

" He won't get it over his back," replied I. 
" Ready with your paddle ; he 's getting too much 
breath." 

" But I say," said John, looking affectionately 
at the rod as he took up the paddle ; " if I was in 
your place, and he did get the line over his shoul- 
der, I would part my tackle before I smashed that 
rod." 

" I won't do either, John " ; and as I answered I 
gave a jerk, and the trout started again. But why 
repeat ? Why tell of flights and rushes which 
followed ? Twice did he break the surface a hun- 
dred feet away, flinging himseK out like a black 
bass. Once did he partially get the leader over his 
back and dashed away like lightning ; while John, 
anxious to save so true a rod from ruin, shouted 
to me, " Part the gut ! " But who ever knew a 
fisherman, when his blood is up, refuse a risk to 
save the game ? I screamed to John to shoot the 
boat one side ; and when the last foot of silk was 
given I advanced the butt. The heavy fish and 
pliant rod were pitted one against the other. 
Three days later, in another struggle, the old rod 
parted ; but this time it triumphed. For a mo- 
ment the quivering tip rattled upon the bars of 
the reel. The fish struggled and shook himself, 



ROD AND REEL. 137 

but the tenacious fibres would not part. He ceased 
to battle, came panting to the surface, and rolled 
over upon his side. The boat shot toward him, 
and as it glided by John passed the landing-net 
beneath him, and the brave fighter lay upon the 
bottom board. His tail, across its base, measured 
five inches ; and his length from tip to tip was 
seventeen inches and three quarters ! 

" John," I said, twisting round in my seat and 
facing him, — " John, I should have lost that fish 
or smashed the rod, if it had not been for youi 
paddle." 

" Of course, of course," replied John ; " that 's 
my business. Those fly-rods are delicate things. 
Like women, they should n't be put to heavy work 
if you can help it, but they are able to bear a 
heavy strain if necessary. But with all I could 
do I thought it was gone once. I don't think I 
ever came so near breaking this paddle as on that 
last sweep. It made my flesh creep to hear the 
old rod creak. I really believe my own back 
would have snapped if it had parted." 

We had captured six trout in two hours, whose 
average length was sixteen inches and a half. I 
asked John if we should take another. 

" I don't think it will be sin to take one more," 
he responded. " I saw a tail show itself out there," 
— and he nodded over his left shoulder, — " whic 
looked like a lady's fan. If there is a larger tr 



^ NEWTON. ':>! 



138 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

than tliat last one lying anywhere al)out this pond, 
I would like to see him " ; and as he spoke he 
swept his paddle through the water, and the boat 
started: I looked at my fly. The teeth of the 
trout had torn the hackle half away, and shorn 
off from the body one gaudy wing. An exclama- 
tion from John started me. The fish had risen 
again. I too saw his tail as he disappeared, and it 
■was as broad as a fan. 

" Mr. Murray," exclaimed John, " that fish is the 
biggest trout I ever saw." 'T is full two feet long. 
I saw him fair, broad side on. His mouth was 
like a bear- trap. Eeady for a cast. Send the fly 
strai^xht for the centre of the w^ake, and if he 
takes, strike like thunder ! " 

John was evidently getting excited, and the 
glimpse I had of the trout had thrilled me as 
the blast of a bugle might thrill a warrior har- 
nessed for battle. The boat was forty feet away 
when the tuft of gay plumes, mangled but still 
lirilliant, floated dowuAvard, and lighted amid the 
glistening bubbles. I had not trailed it a yard 
when a gleam of blue and yellow passed me, and 
with a splash and plunge which threw the water 
in silvery spray high into the air, the tiont broke, 
I saw the feathers disappear within his mon- 
strous jaws, and, lifting myself involuntarily half 
off my seat, I struck. I think John was con- 
vinced that I struck hard enough that time, for 



ROD AND REEL. 139 

the strong nine-loot leader parted under the c|iii(^.k 
stroke, and down into the depths went the trout, 
with leader and flies streaming from his mouth. 

" Well," said John, as I swung myself around 
so as to face him, " for twenty-seven years I 've 
boated up and down the waters of this wilderness, 
and rarely will you strike a lake or stream, from 
the Horican to the St. Lawrence, above whose sur- 
face I have not seen fish leap ; but never before 
this day have I seen, on lake or stream, a spotted 
trout as large as that which has just carried fly 
and leader to the bottom. Well, let him go," he 
continued ; " he '11 manage, some way, to get that 
hook out of his jaw, and live to take another fly. 
And you and I will build our camp-fire some even- 
ing next summer upon the shore of this pond 
again ; and when the sun comes over those pines 
there, I '11 warrant we '11 find the old fellow active 
as ever." 

So speaking, he turned the boat about, and 
headed toward the camp. That afternoon we lay 
on the beach and watched the leaping trout 
sporting before us ; or gazed, dreaming of absent 
friends, into the deep blue sky, across whose ceru- 
lean dome the snow-wliite clouds drifted, urged 
silently onward by the pressure of invisible cur- 
rents. The sun at last withdrew his beams. One 
moment, and the pines that crested the western 
slope were all ablaze. The next, gloomy and 



140 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

dark tLey stood, their dense and sombre foliage 
imlighied by a ray. The shadows deepened. The 
ripple left the lake, and its unruffled surface 
stretched from shore to shore like a sea of glass. 
One by one the stars came out in quick succes- 
sion. The waters contended in rivalry with the 
skies, and every star which shone in the heaven 
above shone in the depths below. Thus we sat 
and saw dark-featured but brilliant Night succeed 
to the throne of blond and gentle Day. Suddenly, 
breaking the profound silence, the solemn hoot of 
an owl echoed through the forest. It was an- 
swered in a moment by the prolonged howl of a 
wolf, hunting amid the hills far to the north. 
Throwing some huge logs on the fire, and wrap- 
ping our blankets around us, we stretched our- 
selves beside the blaze, and, with malice in our 
hearts toward none, sank peacefully to our night's 
/epose. 



VIII. 

PHANTOM FALLS. 

" T OHN," I exclaimed, as I stood emptying the 

I water out of my boots, — " John, I will surely 
wi4te an account of this night's adventure." 

" No one will believe you if you do," replied he. 
" If it was not for this water," he continued, as he 
gave his soaked jacket a wring with both hands, " I 
should doubt it myself, and declare that we have 
only been dreaming, and had not shot two miles of 
those rapids to-night, nor dragged our boat from 
under the suction of Phantom Falls." 

" I do not care whether people believe it or not," 
I replied. " There lies your broken paddle," — and I 
pointed to the piece of shivered ash, — " and there 
you stand, wringing the water of the rapids from 
your jacket, and we knovj that something more 
than human has now for two nights appeared off 
our camp, and that we did, two hours ago, take 
boat and 'follow it until it vanished into mist ; and 
I shall tell the story of what we have seen and 
done, not expecting any one will believe it." 

Gentle reader, I keep the promise made to John, 
as we stood by our camp-fire under the pines, and 



142 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

advise you to believe no more of it than you see 
fit. Perhaps the reading will serve to entertain a 
circle of friends some winter evening, wdien the 
wind moans dismally without, as the writing will 
rest him who, in front of a glowdng grate, on a 
December night, for his own amusement even 
more than for your own, tells you the story of 



PHANTOM FALLS. 

"John," said I, "since eight o'clock we have 
made good forty miles, and my fingers are so stiff 
that I can scarcely unclasp them from tliis paddle- 
staff. Let us make camp before the sun goes 
down." 

" Well," replied he, " fifteen years ago I camped 
one night by that big rock there at the mouth of 
the rapids, and I would like to see how the old 
camp looks, for I saw^ something there that night 
that I could not account for ; I will tell you about 
it after supper to-night." 

Of course I assented, and bent myself to the 
paddle with renewed energy. 

We w^ere in the heart of the wilderness, w^here 
even trappers seldom penetrated. For fifty miles 
on either side not even the smoke of a hunter's 
cabin colored the air. For wrecks I had not seen a 
human face or heard a human voice other than our 



PHANTOM FALLS. 143 

own. Day after day we had been pusliing our 
light, narrow shell up unexplored creeks, building 
our fire each night on the shore of some lake or 
pond where it is doubtful if fire was ever kindled 
before. As we proceeded down the lake, the roar 
of tlie rapids came more and more distinctly to our 
ears, and as the shores converged the boat began 
to feel the action of the water beneath it, where 
were the beginnings of the current. As John felt 
the movement, he lifted his oars, and, laying them 
carefully along the bottom of the boat, pointed 
toward a huge pine that stood to the west of 
a projection of land along the other side of which 
rushed the rapids. Understanding the motion, I 
turned the bow of the boat toward the tree, and 
then, with easy stroke, urged it along. 

" How well I remember the night I camped 
here," said John, speaking half to himself. " How 
naturally that old pine looks, and the three hem- 
locks on the point, and the rock against which I 
built my fire. I wonder if the old story is true, 
and if I did see her, or whether it was only a 
dream ! " 

By this time the boat had run into a little 
notch or bay, and a few sharp strokes sent it to 
the shore with a force that urged it half its length 
up over the yielding sand ^Ye stepped to the 
beach. 

Supper having been prepared and eaten, wo 



144 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

threw some heavy logs upon the fire, and, reclining 
upon our blankets, gazed off over the lake. The 
moon was nearly at the full. Her rounded orb 
was just appearing above the eastern mountains, 
and across the tranquil water she poured her pure 
white radiance. The lake lay motionless ; not a 
wave, not even a ripple, broke the smooth surface. 
Above, the sky was cloudless. Suspended in 
the still ether, a few of the larger stars strug- 
gled for existence. "Weak and vain such rivalry ! 
for the queen of night held open audience, and 
their lesser lights paled in her more brilliant pres- 
ence. The woods were dumb. Silence brooded 
in the heavy pines and amid the darker firs. 
The balsams, through their spear-like stems, yield- 
ed their fragrance upon an air too motionless to 
waft it. Even the dull roar of the rapids was so 
even in tone, that, instead of disturbing, it seemed 
rather to deepen the all-pervading silence. 

" Mr. Murray," said John, at length, " do you 
know that we are camped on haunted ground ? " 

" Haunted ground ! " I returned, raising myself 
upon my elbow, and turning toward him. " What 
do you mean ? You don't believe in ghosts, do 
you ? " 

"Well, I don't know," replied John, "what to 
believe ; but some of the old trappers tell queer 
stories about this place, and I know that, just 
fifteen years ago this month, I made my camp 



PHANTOM FALLS. 145 

under this very pine, and that during the night 
I saw something off the camp which was n't 
human 1 " 

" So that was what you were nmttering about, 
was it, John, when we were running in ? " I re- 
sponded. " Give us the story, as you promised ; this 
is the very night and place to hear a ghost-story. 
I can ahnost catch the soft, cat-like tread of old 
Indian warriors gliding through the shadows, and 
the dip of unseen paddles along the motionless 
water. So go ahead, John ; give us the whole 
story, and take your own time for it." 

" Well, it won't take long," replied John ; " and I 
would like to know what you think of it, anyway. 
The story which the old trappers tell is this : — 

" ' The tribe of Indians that once hunted around 
the shores of this lake, and over these mountains, 
was called the Neamski. It was a branch of 
the great Huron family, and their chief was 
Neosko, which means thunder-cloud, or some such 
thing. Well, this chief had a daughter, Wisti by 
name. The French called her the Balsam, because 
of the richness of her dark beauty. This girl fell 
in love with a young Frenchman, a Jesuit priest, 
whom the missions in Canada had sent down to 
this tribe to convert them. Her love, it seems, 
was returned with ardor, and here in this little 
cove they were wont to hold their nightly tryst. 
At last the young priest, impelled by his passion 



146 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

for the girl, determined to visit Montreal, get dis- 
charged by his superiors from the service, return 
for his iJiistress, and, striking through the lakes 
eastward, reach Albany, where he could embark for 
France. He left in the early spring, with the un- 
derstanding that he would meet her at this spot on 
a certain night in June. For some reason, per- 
haps because he could not get a release, perhaps 
piety prevailed at last over love, or, more prol^able 
still, because he was ambushed on his journey 
by hostile Indians and killed, he never returned. 
Night after night, as the story runs, Wisti would 
fcake her canoe, paddle to this point, where, not 
finding her lover, she wo aid return dejected to her 
father's camp. She had many lovers, of course. 
Chiefs from near and far, even from the big lakes, 
came seeking her hand. She refused each and all. 
In vain her father threatened, her relations urged, 
her tribe insisted. To every suitor she returned 
the same answer : " My heart is far away in the 
North, and will not come back to me." A year 
came and went. The snow for a second time melt- 
ed from the mountains, and the ice deserted the 
streams. Her lover had been sick, she said to her- 
self, and could not keep his promise ; but now he 
would surely come. Thus she kept her hope up 
as she watched and waited. Night after night she 
would visit this spot, only to be disappointed. The 
burden was too heavy for her to bear. The light 



PHANTOM FALLS. 147 

deserted her eyes and agility her limbs. With the 
leaves of autumn she faded, and one September 
night she launched her canoe and left her father's 
camp. AVhen last seen, she was directing her 
course toward this point. It is possible that, 
caught in the sweep of the rapids, she was swept 
doAvn, or else, broken in spirit by the continued ab- 
sence of her lover, and weary of a life, every day of 
which brought only a new and bitterer disappoint- 
ment, she purposely paddled out into the current, 
and sought, through the white foam and mist of 
the rapids, a meeting with him who was, as she 
believed, no longer on earth.' And they say," con- 
tinued John, "that thrice each year, about this 
time in June, there comes up out of the rapids a 
canoe, which leaves, as it glides, no wake, urged by 
a noiseless paddle, and in it a figure sits, clothed in 
raiment whiter than the mist." 

" Well, John," I said, after a slight pause, " is 
that all ? Do you believe the story ? Did you evei 
see her ? " 

" Mr. Murray," said John, solemnly, " I do be- 
lieve the story ; and I have seen her." 

" What ! " I exclaimed, now thoroughly interest- 
ed ; " do you say that you have seen her, John ? 
When, and how ? Tell me all about it." 

" It was just fifteen years ago this moon," con- 
tinued he, " and I was returning from a trip down 
the Black Eiver country, when, late in the evening, 



148 ADVE'iTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

I ran my boat into this little bay. The moon, the 
lake, the moantains, all looked as they do at 
this moment. Against this very rock I built my 
fire, and, being tired, quickly dropped to sleep. I 
lay that night in the same position in which you 
are no'w lying. How long I had been sleeping [ 
do not know, when a low, imeasy whine from my 
\iound, piud his nose rubbing against my face, 
Aroused me. Thinking that some wild animal 
fiad approached the camp, I seized my rifle ani 
peered steadily into the forest. Not a twi» 
snapped. Twice did the dog walk around the 
fire, lift his nose into the air, and wdiine. I did not 
know what to make of it. I was about to order 
him to be quiet, wiien he started to his feet, took a 
*5tep tow^ard the lake, and then crouched, shivering, 
fco the ground. Quick as thought I turned, and 
Vher^, Mr. Murray," said John, speaking in a low 
bu^i steady voice, and pointing with his brawny 
hand toward the east, " there, just rounding that 
point, J. saw a sight which made my blood curdle. 
A boat, or what seemed to be a boat, was there, — 
a birch canoe, curved up at either end, — and in it 
sat a girl, or what seemed a girl, all clothed m 
white, and airy as a cloud. In her hand she grasped 
a paddle, and her head was turned as in the atti- 
tude of listening. Up to the very margin of the 
water the canoe came, and tAvice did that face, oi' 
what seemed a face, look steadily into mine. Then 



PHANTOM FALLS. 149 

\^ith a motion as wlien one shakes liis head with 
disappointment, it turned away, and the canoe, 
as if impelled by a paddle, described a circle, and 
glided, with the white form in it, around the 
point." 

John paused. That his narrative was honest I 
had no doubt. Every tone and syllable proved it. 
I did not know precisely what to say, so we sat for 
a while in profound silence. At last John started 
up, seized hold of the end of a large log Avhich the 
fire had burned through in the middle, ended it 
over upon the pile of glowing coals, and as he 
seated himself said, — 

" Well, Mr. Murray, what do you think of it ? " 

Eising to my feet, I turned about so as to face 
him, and responded : — 

" John, I do not doubt that you think you saw 
what you say you did see ; but I do not believe that 
you really saw any such sight after all. The fact is, 
John, it was what the doctors would call a mental 
delusion. You were very tired ; you had heard 
the old story about the place — Be still, Eover, 
will you ! " I exclaimed, interrupting myself to 
touch the old dog with my foot, as he rose to his 
feet, lifted his nose into the air, and began to 
whimper, — " it is nothing but a wolf or a wildcat, 
you old fool you ; lie down. — The fact is, John,'' 
I resumed, " you were very t^red . that night ; you 
had often heard the story about the place; you 



150 ADVENTUKES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

were here all alone, and dropped asleep thinking 
of it, and, being in a feverish state, you dreamed 
that you saw — " 

" Mr. Murray," whispered John, hoarsely, 
interrupting me, "for God's sake, look there! " 

There was something in his voice, and in the 
quick motion of his hand as he thrust it out 
toward the lake, which startled me. Scarcely 
knowing why or what I was doing, I turned and 
saw what was enough to quicken the blood in 
cooler veins than mine. Within a hundred feet 
of the beach on which I was then standing was 
what seemed at least to be a canoe, and in it a 
form sat, bent slightly forward as in the act of 
listening. A moment it sat thus, and then the 
attitude became erect, and a face, as it were the 
face of a girl imprinted on the air, looked directly 
into mine. I neither spoke nor moved, but stood 
steadfastly gazing at the apparition. I was not 
frightened to bewilderment. All my faculties 
seemed supernaturally active. I noted the form 
of the canoe. It was as John had described it, — 
curved up at either end, and delicately shaped. I 
noticed the paddle, slender and polished, the white 
drapery, the shadowy face. I remembered after- 
ward that the moonlight fell athwart the prow, as 
it projected from the dark shadows of the pines 
into the unimpeded radiance. It may have been a 
minute that the apparition faced us ; then, with a 



PHANTOM FALLS. 151 

movement of tlie head as when one seeks in vain 
for something not to be found, the paddle sank 
into the water and the phantom boat, urged as by 
a steady stroke wdiich stirred no ripple, glided, Avith 
the white figure in it, along the shore and around 
the point, and then, heading toward the rapids, 
vanished from sight. 

It must have been several minutes before either 
of us spoke. Then John broke the silence with 
the words, " Well, Mr. Murray, what do you think 
about it now ? " 

" I think," said I, " that imagination has played 
a trick on me, or else the old story is true and this 
is haunted ground." 

"Did you notice the canoe," continued John, 
" how it was curved and ornamented at either end ; 
and the paddle, what a delicate shaft it had ; and 
the face, was it not as the face of a girl ? " 

" Yes," I returned, solemnly, " it was as you de- 
scribe it, John, save that it did not seem like a 
real boat or paddle, and the face looked like the 
outline of a face printed on the air, rather than a 
solid head." 

" So it did, so it did," responded he ; " but does 
not the good Book say somewhere that we shall all 
be changed at death, and that our bodies will not 
look as they do now ? " 

"Well, John, we won't talk any more about it 
to-night," I replied ; " I want to sleep on it. Toss 



152 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

me my blanket there, and roll those two logs on to 
the fire, and we will go to sleep. In the morn- 
ing we will hold a council, and decide what to 
do. If there is any truth in the old story, you and 
I might as well find it out." 

John did as he was requested, and, coming 
round to where I stood, we wrapped ourselves in 
our blankets, and side by side, with Eover at our 
feet, prepared ourseh^es for slumber. " What 's 
that ? " I exclaimed, as a sharp, quick cry, fol- 
lowed by a prolonged liowl, came up from the 
depth of the forest. 

" A wolf has kiUed a deer," murmured John, 
*' and he is calling in the pack " ; and then we slept. 

The sun was high in the heavens before we 
awoke. Our sleep had been a heavy, oblivious 
slumber, which took as it were so many hours 
clean out of our lives, — a gap across wdiich was 
stretched not even the filament of a dream by 
which the memory could afterward connect the 
lying down and the rising up. 

" John," said I, when breakfast w^as ended, " 1 
tell you what w^e will do to-day. We will explore 
the rapids and mark us out a course down as far 
as Phantom Falls, and we will lay in w^ait off our 
camp to-night, when, if the ajiparition makes us 
another visit, we will run alongside of that canoe or 
shadow, whichever it may be, and solve the mys- 
tery. Wliat say you ? " 



PHANTOM FALLS. 153 

" I say anything you say, Mr. Murray," prompt- 
ly responded John. " I never yet saw a canoe 1 
was afraid to run my boat alongside of ; but what 
shall we do if it goes from us ? Shall we give 
chase ? " 

" Certainly," I responded ; " and I don't believe 
that anything short of a ghost can out-paddle us, 
if we fairly settle ourselves do^vn to it." 

" Nor I either," returned Jolni, laughing ; " but 
what if it leads down the rapids ? I heard an old 
trapper say that he followed it once to the very en- 
trance of them, down which it glided and escaped 
him." 

"Well, as I said, John, we will explore the 
rapids to-day, and map us out a course. The ri^'er 
is high, and with the full moon we can easily run 
them. It is a good mile, you say, before we reach 
the falls, and it must be ghost or devil if, with a 
good paddle at either end of this shell, you and I 
cannot catch it in a mile race." 

So it was arranged, and, taking up our paddles, 
we stepped into our boat and started for tlie 
rapids. In a moment we had turned the point and 
shot out into the current, in which, with reversed 
strokes of the paddles, we lield the light shell 
stationary while we scanned the reach of tremu- 
lous water below. No prettier sight can a man 
gaze at, nor is there one more calculated to quicken 
the blood, than to see two men sit bareheaded and 
7* 



154 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS 

erect at either end of their cedar l)oat, paddle in 
hand, in the smooth water which gathers like a 
pool at the mouth of rapids. And many a wild, 
ringing cheer have I heard rise, mingling with the 
roar of waters, from those who glided in their 
skeleton boats over the verge, and passed from the 
gazer's sight amid the foam and rocks below. 

"John," said I, as we sat looking downward, 
" it 's all clear ahead ; let her glide." 

" All right," replied John ; " the waters are 
hmh, and we shall have a clean run of it. The 
small rocks are covered, and the boulders we can 
dodge. We will aim for the centre, and let the 
current take us. I guess we shall ride fast enough. 
Only one thing before we start. We shall find 
several small falls, which we must jump ; but 
when you hear the roar and see the smoke of 
Phantom Falls, look well to your paddle and mind 
what you are about. It won't do to go over them. 
Twenty-five feet are more than I care to jump." 

" Exactly my sentiment," returned I, " but 
which side are we to land ? If you and I shoot 
this boat out of such a current as that," and I mo- 
tioned downward, " it must be Avith a stroke quick 
as lightning and well together." 

"I know that," said John. "I explored the 
banks above the falls, one day, not knowing but 
that I might be swept down some time, and about 
thirty rods up stream, right abreast of a dead hem^ 



PHANTOM FALLS. 155 

lock, there is a large whirlpool. We will strike it 
to the right, and when exactly abreast of the tree 
we must jump our boat with one stroke under cover 
of the bank. Do you understand ? " 

"Perfectly," rejDlied I. 

" Eeady, then/' said John. " Steady as you are. 

Now r 

At the word " Now ! " we lifted our paddles and 
glanced like an arrow down the slope. 

Three times that day we ran the rapids, and 
each time without a mishap. Indeed, it was not a 
difficult matter, as the water was very high ; and as 
soon as we got accustomed to the extreme swift- 
ness of the motion, we found no difficulty at 
all in handling our l)oat. The most trying spot 
was where we had to run out of the current, to do 
which it was necessary that the stroke of our pad- 
dles should be as one, and made with our united 
strength. 

" There," said John, as for the third time we ran 
under the bank, " I am not afraid to run these 
rapids night or day, even if chased by a ghost. 
Come, let us go and see the falls." 

Forcing our way through the underbrush, we 
clambered down the bank, and, walking out upon 
the shelving rock, stood where the mist and spray 
fell on us. The falls were some twenty-five feet 
high, perpendicular as the face of a wall. The edge 
of the rock over which the water rushed must have 



156 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

been notched or chipped ; for, starting from the very 
rim of the cataract, spouts of water leaped into the 
air, and, falling in feathery spray, formed a veil 
through which the dark green torrent might be 
seen as it fell behind it. In one spot only did the 
current flow unimpeded. Near the middle of the 
stream, for some eight feet in width, the down- 
rushing waters rolled to the brink and curved 
over without jet or seam, smooth as a sheet of 
glass. Underneath, the water was churned into 
foam, boiling and tossing about in the wildest 
confusion. 

For several minutes we stood admiring the wild 
scene in silence. " Mr. Murray," at length shouted 
John, putting his mouth close to my ear, so as to 
make himself heard amid the uproar, " if any poor 
fellow should ever get caught in the rapids alone, 
and have to shoot the falls, he should steer for that 
smooth water, and, when on the very brink, put his 
whole strength into one stroke of his paddle ; 
and if he could project- his boat so that, when it 
struck, it would fall on the outside of that upheav- 
ino; ridoe, he would be safe, but if he fell inside of 
that white line of foam, he would be sucked under 
the falls and torn to pieces on the jagged bot- 
tom." 

" John," said I, " it could be done, I verily be- 
lieve, as you say, but not one man in fifty could 
hold his paddle or sit his boat steadily, gliding 



PHANTOM FALLS. 15? 

dowiiward to such a fearful leap ; l)ut will and 
nerve could do it, only Heaven keep us from try- 
ing it." 

" Amen," said John, " and yet there is no telling 
what may happen to those who boat by day and 
night up and down this wilderness as much as we 
do ; and if you ever have to do it, Mr. Murray, steer 
for that smooth water, and, as you love your life, 
when on the brink, do as I have told you." 

" Well," said I, changing the suljject, " if that 
poor Indian girl did really come down the rapids, 
she must have met her death under these falls." 

" Yes, that is why they call them Phantom 
Falls," answered John. " An old trapper told me 
once that he camped in the bend of the river there 
one night, and as he was rebuilding his fire al)out 
midnight, he saAv a canoe and a white form rise 
slowly out of the mist and go sailing up the rapids. 
He was so frightened that he took boat and pad- 
dled all night down stream till he reached the set- 
tlement." 

" AVell," said I, as we turned from the falls and 
clambered up the bank, " to-night we will see if 
the old story is true or not. Let us go to camp." 
So saying we shouldered our boat and started foi' 
the camp above. 

It might have been eleven o'clock when, taking 
\ip our paddles, we stepped into our boat and 
pushed off into the lake. We took our position in 



158 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

the shadow of a hemlock which grew on the very 
margin of the bank, some fifty yards to the west 
of the camp, and waited. I cannot say that I ex- 
pected anything unusual would show itself. I am 
no believer in Spiritualism. I am not nervous by 
nature. I never dream. It was these facts which 
made it so hard for me to account for the appear- 
ance of the night before. The more T had reflected 
the more had I been puzzled. 

" John," said I, at length, speaking in a guarded 
whisper, " this is the queerest ambush you and I 
ever made." 

" I was just thinking of that very same thing," 
responded he ; " but I am very glad we are here. 
For fifteen years I have wanted to do this very 
thing, but never found any one to attempt it wdth 
me. How do you feel ? " 

" Never better in my life," I replied ; " although I 
must say that I hope we may not run the rapids. 
Moonlight is not sunlight, after all ; and if you 
should make a mistake, or — " 

" Mr. Murray," broke in John, " did you ever 
know me make a mistake ? Have not you and I 
run rapids worse than these, time and again ? and 
when have we taken anything but foam and spray 
into our boats ? I tell you I am not afraid to run 
the rapids ; only if we do go down, remember the 
dead hemlock. It would n't do to go over the 
faUs." 



PHANTOM FALLS. 159 

" Kever fear on that point, John ; when I am 
ready to die, I shall choose another grave than 
that boiling hell of water to sleep in. When I 
feel the tap of your paddle-staff on the boat, I 
will do my part; never fear." 

Here the conversation ceased, and we sat in 
silence, — a silence so profound as to be almost 
painful. Ten, twenty, thirty minutes passed, and 
nothing appeared. I grew imjmtient, incredulous. 
I even Ijegan to feel that I would not like my 
friends to know what a fool I was making of 
myself. " Jolm," said I at length, taking out my 
watch, and holding its face up to a bright beam 
of light which had found its way through the 
dark foliage overhead, — " John, it is five min- 
utes to twelve, and we have made fools of our- 
selves long enough. I don't think the Indian 
girl will make her toilet under the falls to-night, 
even if we should sit cram]jed up here till 
morning. Come, shove into the — " 

A low moan, almost human in its piteousness, 
arose on the midnight air. Again the hound, by a 
supernatural instinct, had divined the approach of 
the spirit. I looked toward the camp. The dog 
sat on his haunches, facing the lake, his nose lifted 
into the air. Outlined as he was against the fire, 
I could see the uneasy tremulousness of his body. 
He opened his mouth, and up through the stillness 
swelled the saddest of all sounds, — the prolonged 



160 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

cry of a hound, when, in unknown grief, he wails out 
his feeling. At the same instant I felt the boat 
shake. Never did I obey that signal to be on the 
watch more quickly. Never was I signalled before 
to look at such an object. A canoe, and in it a fig- 
ure like a girl's, was in the very act of turning 
the point. A living girl could not have kept a 
steadier stroke, or urged a boat along more nat- 
urally. And yet I felt that it was not flesh and 
blood, nor a real boat, nor ashen paddle before me. 
Onward the apjDarition came. Up to the very 
border of our camp that spectral boat glided, then 
paused. A human face could not have gazed more 
searchingiy into the fitful firelight ; a human form 
could not have taken a truer attitude of search. I 
saw^ a shadowy arm move through the air, and 
the formation of a hand rested for a moment on 
the brow^, — as when one shields his eyes, peering 
into darkness, — then sank upon the paddle-staff, 
and the boat moved forward. 

That motion roused me. It started John also 
An instant more and w^e had solved the mystery 
But even as our boat glided out of the deep shadow, 
the apparition turned her head full on us. I won^ 
der we did not stop. But, with that ghostly face 
not fifty feet away, looking through the bright 
moonlight steadily into mine, I gave a stroke w^hich 
bent my paddle like a sword-blade wdien you throw 
your weight suddenly upon it. The deed was done. 




^ 



PHANTOM FALLS. 161 

.Devil or saint, spirit or flesh, we had her ! I thrust 
my hand out to grasp the garments of the girl. I 
clutched the empty air ; the girl was gone full 
twenty yards away, and speeding toward the point. 
Not thus were we to be eluded. John had not 
missed his stroke, and, seizing my paddle again, we 
sent our boat flying over the surface of the lake in 
hot pursuit. Never, as I believe, was boat of bark 
or cedar sent faster over the water. Our paddles 
were of choicest ash, smooth as ivory, three feet in 
the staff and thirty inches in the blade, while the 
shell that floated us turned barely sixty pounds, with 
a bottom like polished steel, and so cork-like that, 
balanced carefully at stem and stern, as it was now, 
it seemed to rest upon, rather than part, the water 
on which it sat ; and as we cast our utmost strength 
into our paddles as only boatmen can, the lithe thing 
fairly flew, while its delicate framework of cedar 
roots and paper-like sides quivered under the ner- 
vous strokes from stem to stern. Around the point 
we rushed, pursuer and pursued. Into the swift 
suction we shot almost side by side ; down over the 
verge and through the white rift into the gloom of 
overhanging pines, leaped a cascade, and with hands 
and faces wet with spray, and garments flecked 
with patches of froth and foam cast high over us as 
we splashed through the rapid torrent, plunged 
down the second reach and over a second fall 
without losing a stroke. Still, just ahead, the boat 

K 



162 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

and spectre glided. At one moment entering into 
the shadow of some dark pine or hemlock which 
overhung the stream, her white form with the whiter 
face looking back at us would show an outline as 
clearly marked as though of flesh and blood ; the 
next, as it passed out of the gloom, it would melt 
away into the moonlight, until it seemed only as an 
airy formation, making no obstruction to the eye, — 
a thing of mist and air. Once, as we leaped a fall, I 
thought our race was over ; for even as we hung in 
air, I reached to seize the phantom. I closed my 
hand, but grasped the atmosiohere. I felt it was in 
vain. No mortal hand might ever touch it, or if it 
might, the human senses were too gross to feel the 
contact. At that moment the white figure arose, 
and, standing erect, pointed with one hand down- 
ward, and with the open palm of the other waved 
us as in warning back. The moon shone full upon 
her face. The look was sad, almost plaintive. An 
indescribable expression of patience possessed it. 
" Living or dead, form or spirit, the years have 
brought no hope to you, poor girl ! " said I to 
myself In a moment her posture changed. Her 
hands dropped to her side. Her head was bent, as 
though in the attitude of listening, down the stream. 
Then, suddenly starting, she stood erect, and, fling- 
ing her arms over her head with a gesture which 
had in it both warning and supplication, she waved 
us back. That instant I heard the roar of Phantom 



PHANTOM FALLS. 163 

Falls. I tapped the side of the boat with my pad- 
dle-staiF. In a moment I felt an answering jar 
from John, and knew that he had caught the heavy 
boom which warned us to end the race. Down, 
down we went, past rock and bulging ledge, swept 
round a curve, and lo ! the hemlock was in sight. 
Right glad was I to see it. It looked like a friend 
standing there, leaning out, as it was, over the 
swiftly gliding water, which hissed and quivered 
under it. I saw the eddying pool which spun 
abreast of it, and marked the white line of foam 
fringing the black circle, and noted with joy how 
surely John was sending the boat to the identical 
spot from which, with one brave stroke, we were to 
jump her out of the fierce suction under the pro- 
jecting banks. I had no thought of accident. The 
faintest suspicion of failure had not crossed my 
mind. ♦With the thunder of the falls filling the air 
with a deafening roar, barely thirty rods away, 
with the siz-z of the current around me as we 
das] led down the decline, I felt as calm and confi- 
dent as though the race was over and we were 
standing on the bank. Nearer and nearer to the 
line of froth we flcAv ; straight as an arrow from the 
bow the light boat shot. I grasped my paddle, 
reaching my left hand well down to the blade, 
holding it suspended and stretched far out ahead, 
ready for the stroke. The moment came. I 
dashed the paddle into the current and bent upon 



164 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

the staff. Even as I bent to the stroke, the sound 
of rending wood, a crash, a quick cry, piercing 
sharply through the roar of the falls, smote upon my 
ear. No words were needed to tell me what had 
happened. John had broken his jpaddle I The 
treacherous ash had failed him even in mid-stroke. 
I did my best. I felt that life, sweet to aU at aU 
times, doubly sweet as it seemed to me then, lay in 
the strength of my arms. I threw the last ounce 
of power I had into that stroke. The elastic staff 
bent under the sudden pressure like a Damascus 
blade. It held ; but aU in vain. The suction was 
too strong. It seized John's end of the boat, 
whirled it round, and sent it flying out into the 
middle of the stream. It is said that men grow 
cool in danger ; that the mind acts with supernatu- 
ral quickness in moments of peril. Be that as it 
may w4th others, so it was wdth me in that fearful 
moment. / knew that ive mu>.t go over the falls. I 
felt that John must make the awful shoot. I had 
more confidence in him than in myself As the 
boat spun round upon the eddy, I seized advan- 
tage of the current, and righting it, directed the bow 
down stream. Then, calmly turning in my seat, 
reversed my paddle, and, holding it by the blade, 
reached the staff to John. He took it. iSTever 
shall I forget the look of John's face as his fingers 
closed on it. No word was uttered by either of us. 
Nu voice might make itself heard in that uproar. 



PHANTOM FALLS. 165 

The moon made everything almost as discernible 
as in the day. He took the paddle, understanding 
my thought, looking straight at me. Upon his 
face was an expression, plain as speech might make 
it, which said, " All that man can do, Mr Murray, 
all that man can do." Then he passed the blade 
into the water. I saw him take two strokes, steady 
and quick, then turned. Down, down we went. 
0, how we shot along that tremulous plain of quiv- 
ering water ! I felt the shell tremble and spring 
as John drove it ahead. A joy I cannot express 
thrilled me as I felt the boat jump. Hope rose 
with every nervous stroke of that paddle, as it sent 
us flying toward the verge. No matter how we 
struck, provided our projection carried us beyond 
the deadly line of bubbles and the suction inward. 
I held my breath, seizing the rim of the boat on 
each side with either hand, and crouched low down 
for the leap. The motion was frightful. My face 
seemed to contract and sharpen under the pressure 
of the air as I clove through it. How John could 
keep his stroke, rushing down such a decline, was 
and will ever be to me a matter of increasing won- 
der. Yet, quick and smiting as his stroke was, it 
was as regular as the movement of a watch. Down, 
down we glanced, straight for the middle of the 
falls and the smooth opening along the jagged rim. 
Lower and lower I crouched. Quicker and quicker 
jumped the boat, until the verge was reached, and, 



166 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

quivering like a frigliteiied fisli, the shell, driven by 
what seemed to be more than mortal strength, with 
a mighty leap, sprang out into the air. So nicely 
had long custom taught us to balance it, that, keep- 
ing the inclination given it by the current, it clove 
through the cloud of rising mist, passing clean out 
of it before we touched the water ; for even as we 
hung above the abyss, I saw the deadly line was 
passed and we were saved. The boat, keeping the 
angle of declination, struck the water, and went 
under like a pointed stake hurled from the hand, 
and John and I were left struggling in the current. 

We swam to the edge of the deep pool, and, 
climbing upon the sloping ledge, lay for a brief 
time motionless, and, side by side^ in the deep 
shadow of the pines, our faces prone on our crossed 
arms, filled with the sweet sense of life delivered, 
and with emotions known only to Him with 
whom, with the roar of the falls, out of whose hell 
of waters we had been snatched, rising around us, 
we held communion. 

At the lower end of the pool we found our boat 
drifted ashore and John's broken paddle beside it. 
Shouldering the shell, and striking eastward, we 
soon came to the carry, traversing which we quickly 
reached the lake, and launching out upon it, in five 
minutes stood where the opening sentences of our 
story found us wringing our clothes beside our 
rekindled camp-fire. And there, reader, we will 



PHANTOM FALLS. 167 

leave you standing in fancy l)y the flickering fire- 
light, with Eover at your feet and the lake shim- 
merino- like a sea of silver under the white radi- 
ance of the full-orbed and perfect moon, lying 
tranquilly before you. 

" Just one word, Mr. Murray, before you stop. 
Did you really see a ghost, and is there any such 
place as Phantom Falls ? " To which query of 
yours, gentle reader, pausing only one moment to 
answer, before I quarter this Christmas orange, I 
respond, " Ask Johnr 



IX. 

JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 

WE were camping on Constable Point, John 
and I, in the summer of 1868, when the 
following experience befell me. I tell it because 
it represents one phase of Adirondack life, and be- 
cause it will enable me to enjoy over again one 
of the most ludicrous and laughable adventures 
which ever assisted digestion. 

It was the 8th of July, and a party of Saranac 
guides, consisting of Jim ]\IcClellan, Stephen Mar- 
tin, and a nephew of his, also a Canadian, name 
unknown, at least unpronounceable by me, had 
come up from the Lower Saranac, and were going 
through to Brown's Tract for a party of German 
gentlemen (and gentlemen in the best sense of the 
word we afterward found them to be), who had ar- 
ranged the year before to camp on the Eacquette for 
a while. The guides were instructed to select and 
build a camp as they came through, and then, 
leaving one of their number to keep it, to come 
after the party, who were to await them at Ar- 
nold's. The spot the guides selected was only some 
twenty rods to the north of us, and there the}? 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 169 

pitched their tent, close by the little projection of 
yellow sand which thrusts itself out into the deep 
blue waters of the lake. The followinf:f morninor 

o o 

all the guides save the elder Martin started for 
Arnold's, leaving him to keep camp. Soon after 
dark Martin, having put everything in order to 
receive the party, dropped over to our lodge, in 
the door of which John and I were sitting, smok- 
ing our pipes, and chatting of this or that, as men 
will in the woods. 

" Well," said I to Martin, as he came up, " I 
suppose you have all your arrangements made for 
the party to-morrow." 

" Yes," returned he. " I don't know as I can do 
much more ; only I do wish I could have a big 
buck hanging by his gambrels when they come 
pulling in. It would please Mr. Schack mighty 
well, I tell you. The fact is," he continued, " I 
came over here to see if you did n't want to go 
out to-night with your jack. We might take a 
short stretch up Marion Eiver there, and I think 
find a venison without much trouble." Of course 
I was ready to go. Indeed, I was exceedingly 
glad of the chance. The fact is, one deer a week 
was all John and I could manage to dispose of; 
and as I never permit myself to shoot more than 
the camp can eat or give away, and as no parties 
had as yet come in, I had very little sport, and 
eagerly hailed tlie opportunity which Martin's 



170 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

proposition gave me of " drawing it fine " on a 
deer's head once more. 

So it was settled that we should go jack-shoot- 
ing up Marion Eiver ; and, after a few minutes of 
further conversation as to our outfit, Martin left 
to prepare his boat. I proceeded to discharge my 
rifle, which w^as loaded with conical balls, in order 
to recharge w^ith round ones, which are far better 
for short range and night work. 

Perhaps, as a matter of interest to sportsmen, 
and for the information of the uninitiated reader, 
I should pause a moment in my narration to 
describe, not only "jack-shooting," but also "my 
jack." 

Be it known to all, then, that a deer is a very 
inquisitive as well as a timid animal. His curi- 
osity is generally greater than his timidity, and at 
the sight of anything new or strange he is im- 
pelled by this feeling to inspect it. Hence it is 
that, instead of flying from a blazing torch or 
lighted candle at night, he is more apt to stand 
stock still and gaze at it. Hunters avail them- 
selves of this peculiarity, and hunt them by torch- 
light in the night-time. Ordinarily speaking, 
they take a piece of bark some two feet long by 
ten inches wide, and, bending it into the shape of 
a half-moon, tack it to a top and bottom board of 
the same shape. Into this box of bark, shaped 
like an old-fashioned half-moon lantern, they in- 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 171 

sert one or more candles, and fasten it to a stick 
some three feet in length. The stick is then stuck 
into the bow of the boat, and the "jack" is ready. 
The hunter, rifle in hand, seats himself close be- 
hind and under the jack, and the paddler at the 
other end of the boat or canoe. Thus equipped 
they start out. The guide paddles quietly along, 
until a deer is heard feeding, as is their custom 
at night, upon the edge of the bank, or walking 
in the water nipping off the lily-pads, which they 
love exceedingly. The jack is then lighted and 
the boat run swiftly down toward the deer. If 
he is young, or has never seen a jack before, he 
will let the boat (which he does not see, so intently 
is he gazing at the light) come very near him, 
and he is easily shot. If he is old and shy, it is a 
far more difficult task to get near him. The de- 
fects of this jack are evident. It is worthless on any 
but a perfectly still night, for the least current of 
air will blow the light out. It necessitates also 
the scratching of a match previous to " lighting 
up," and the noise incident to such an opera- 
tion in the open air at night, when every object 
about you is damp and wet, and in the presence 
of game, does not tend to steady the nerves of 
an amateur. It is also stationary, and if you 
run past the deer, as you are liable to do, it is 
difficult to turn the light on him. If, further^ 
more, the deer is in motion in any but a straight 



172 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

line from you, the jack is of no service at all. 
Now, when deer are scarce and shy, or the nights 
windy, such a jack is almost useless, and the 
sportsman is often driven to change his camp or 
starve, although deer are all around him. Hav- 
ing in seasons previous experienced the disad- 
vantages of the old jack, I determined to in- 
vent and construct one which should absolutely 
overcome all these imperfections. This is w^hat 
I hit upon. I took a common fireman's hat, and, 
having the rim removed, had the crown padded 
with wadding, and lined with chamois-skin. I 
caused a half-moon lantern of copper to be made 
with a concave bottom which fitted closely to the 
hat, and was fastened thereto with screws. Through 
the top of the hat a hole was made large enough 
for the burner to pass ; the lamp itself, containing 
the oil, was fitted and held by brass studs to the 
crown, between it and the head. In the back side 
of the lantern was placed a German-silver reflec- 
tor, heavily plated. The screw which lifts and 
lowers the wick was connected with a shank 
that projected through the side of the lantern, 
so that by a touch of the finger the light might 
be let on or cut off. A large, softly padded throat- 
latch buckled the jack firmly to my head. Ob- 
serve the advantages of this jack over the old 
style. Being enclosed by an air-tight glass front, 
it might be used in a tornado. When floating foi 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 173 

deer you could turn the wick so low down that 
no light was visible, and when one was heard you 
could run down toward him, and, with your finger 
on the adjusting screw, turn on the light just when 
you wanted it, and not an instant before, and this 
too without a moment's pause. If the deer was 
on the jump, it made no difference. The reflector 
was so powerful, that, if you turned the wick well 
up, it mad •; a lane some three rods wide and fifteen 
rods long as light as day, and the jack being on your 
head, the blaze was never off the leaping deer, 
whose motion your eye would naturally follow, 
and as your head turned, so, without thought or 
effort on your part, turned the jack. Moreover, as 
all hunters know, one trouble with the old style 
of jacks is, that as you hold your rifle under it, 
when taking aim, only the front sight is lighted 
up ; and the rear sight being in the dark, you can- 
not " draw it fine," but are ever liable to " shoot 
over." Shooting with the old style is but little bet- 
ter than guess shooting, any way. To be sure, you 
might discard the rifle, and with an old blunder- 
buss, charged w^ith slugs or buck-shot, which scat- 
ter twenty feet in going forty, get your deer. But 
this is simply slaughter, — a proceeding too shame- 
ful for a sportsman ever to engage in. A man 
who drops his deer with anything but a single 
bullet should be hooted out of the woods. Xow 
the jack I am describing, when placed firmly on 



174 ADVENTURES IK THE WILDERNESS. 

the head, casts its light from lock to muzzle, and 
so enables the hunter to draw his bead as " fine " 
as he may choose. Nothing need be said in favor 
of this jack, — which is here for the first time de- 
scribed, and thus made common property, — be- 
yond the fact that, during the whole season in 
which I hunted, mostly nights, I never marked a 
deer with a bullet back of the ears, unless he was 
on the jump when I shot. And time and again, 
as John Plumbley and many friends can testify, 
on nights good, bad, and indifferent, sitting, kneel- 
ing, or standing in the bow of a tottlish boat, I have 
sunk my bullet as squarely between the eyes as 
one may place his finger. One word more touch- 
ing the advantages of this jack. All my readers 
who have hunted deer at night know that full 
one half of them started will go out of the river 
on a jump, and, when ten or twelve rods from 
the bank, come to a stand-still. Now this dis- 
tance is too great for an old-style jack to illu- 
minate ; and often the hunter must signal his 
guide to paddle on, when he knows the buck he 
wants stands not a dozen rods away, looking 
straight at him. Now, with the aid of a reflector, 
my jack will throw a lane of light from fifteen to 
twenty rods ;' and if the deer stops within that dis- 
tance, as three out of five will, and you hold steady, 
he is sure to come into your boat. Never shall I 
forget an old buck I laid out one night up South 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 175 

Inlet, on the Eacquette, as lie stood with his nose 
stuck into the air and blowing away like an ani- 
mated trumpet. It was just seventeen rods from 
the bow of the little shell I stood in, and the lead 
went in at one ear and came out of the other. 

So much for jack-shooting and my jack. I 
have been thus minute in my description, because 
I thought it might assist my brother sportsmen 
to enjoy what I regard the most exciting of all 
sport, — deer-shooting at night. I take this way 
also of answering the many letters of inquiry con- 
cerning my jack recently addressed me by gentle- 
men who have heard of my invention from the 
guides, and who would like to avail themselves of 
it. It is rather expensive, but a sicre thing, if 
vrell made. 

Well, to return to my narration. I was driving 
the ball into the right barrel of my rifle when I 
heard the soft dip of a paddle abreast of the camp, 
and in a moment ^lartin stepped up the bank and 
entered, paddle in hand, the circle of the firelight 
Many who read this may remember Martin, brother 
to him of tlie Lower Saranac House ; but for the 
sake of others, who have never seen him, I will give 
a sketch of him. I recall him perfectly as he 
stood leaning on his paddle in my camp that night. 
A tall, sinewy man he was, in height some six feet 
two, in weight turning perhaps one hundred and 
seventy pounds, — every ounce of superfluous flesh 



176 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

" sweated " off his body by his constant work at the 
paddle and oars, which gave him a certain gaunt, 
bony look, to be seen only in men who live the 
hunter's life and eat the hunters fare along our 
frontiers. Yet there was a certain litheness about 
the form, a springy elasticity in the moccasined 
foot, a suppleness of motion, which, if it was not 
grace, was something next akin to it. His hair was 
sandy, short, crisp, and curly. His shoulders were 
brought the least trifle forward, as boatmen's gen- 
erally are, and especially such as leave their boats 
to follow, with cat-like tread and crouching pos- 
ture, the trail. Pants and hunting-shirt of Scotch 
gray ; a soft felt hat of similar color, and the inev- 
itable short, thin knife stuck in a leathern sheath, 
made up his outfit. A wiry, nervous man, I said 
to myself, as I looked him over; none the less 
nervous because a certain backwoodsman's indif- 
ference and nonclicdance veiled the dash and fire 
witliin. A good guide I warrant, easy and pleas- 
ant of temper when fairly treated, but hot and 
violent as an overcharged and smutty rifle when 
abused. 

" Martin," said I, as I dragged my jack from 
under a bag where it had lain concealed (for I 
did n't wish every one to copy my invention the 
first season), " what do you think of that ? " and, 
.| touching a match to the wick, I lifted the jack 
to my head and buckled the throat-latch. 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 177 

" Well," said he, after looking at it a moment, 
" that 's a new idea, anyway. Should n't wonder 
if it worked ; but I have seen so many new-fangled 
notions brought into the woods that were not 
worth a toadstool, that I have about given up 
ever seeing anything better than a piece of bark, 
and a tallow dip, mean and tricky as that is." 

" Well," said I, moistening my finger and lift- 
ing it into the air, " if that current of wind comes 
out of the north, we shall want something better 
than a tallow dip to see through the fog with be- 
fore ten o'clock." 

" That 's the fact," broke in John ; " I saw, an 
hour ago, by the way that hard maple brand 
snapped and glowed, that it was getting colder. By 
the time you reach the river the fog will be thick 
enough to cut, and the best thing you can do, both 
of you, is to bunk in here with me, and help me 
lessen this bag of ' Lone Jack.' " 

" No," said I, " fog or no fog, we '11 go out. I 
know how much it would please the party to-mor- 
row to see a good buck hanging in front of the 
camp as they come down the lake ; and, Martin, 
if you will do your part at the paddle, I '11 show 
you how Never Fail acts when a deer stands look- 
ing into the muzzles " ; and I patted the stock of 
my double rifle, of which it is enough to say that it 
has " K Lewis, Troy, N. Y.," etched on either barrel. 

"Well," replied Martin, as he turned toward 



178 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS 

the beach, " it 's thirty-five years since I raised the 
first blister on these hands with a paddle-staff, and 
though it is a mighty silent paddle that is usually 
back of you, yet w^e Saranac boys don't admit that 
any man in this wilderness can beat us in a still 
hunt." 

With this allusion to John's reputation at the 
paddle, he headed his long, narrow boat out into 
the lake, and steadied it between his knees until I 
was seated in the bow; then, with a slight push, 
sent the light shell from the beach, vaulting at the 
same instant, with a motion airy as a cat's, into 
his own seat astern. 

Who that has ever visited the Adirondacks does 
not grow enthusiastic as he recalls the beauty and 
solemn splendor of the night, as he has beheld it 
while being paddled across some one of its many 
hundred lakes ? The current of air which I had 
noted at the camp, cool and refreshing after the 
hot summer's day, was too steady and slight to stir 
a ripple on the glassy water. The sky was in its 
bluest tint, sobered by darkness. In the southern 
heavens, and even up to the zenith, the stars were 
mellow and hazy, shorn of half their beams by the 
moist atmosphere through w^hich they shone. A 
few, away to the south, over the inlet of that 
name, lying back of a strata of air saturated al- 
most to the density of vapor, beamed like so many 
patches of illuminated mist. But far to the north 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 179 

and west, whence at intervals a thin gleam of 
lightning shone reflected from some far-off nether 
region, the low growl of thunder was occasionally 
heard. Above, in the clear, cool blue, the star 
which never moves, the Dipper, and countless 
other orbs, differing in glory, revealed in sharp, 
clear outlines their stellary formations. The wave- 
less water was to these heavens a perfect mirror ; 
and over that seamless surface, over planets and 
worlds shining beneath us, over systems and con- 
stellations the minutest star of which was visible 
we softly glided. With bowed head I gazed into 
that illuminated sea. I thought of that other sea 
which is " of glass like unto crystal " before the 
throne, and the glory which must forever be re- 
flected up from its depths. "Is this the same 
world of cities and cursing in whicli I lived a 
week ago ? " I said to myself, " or have I been 
translated to some other and happier sphere ? " 
Around me on all sides, as I gazed, Night dusky 
and dim sat on the mountains, and brooded over 
the starry sea, and the all-enveloping silence of the 
wilderness rested solemnly over all. As I sat and 
mused, — yea, and worshipped, — memory stirred 
within me ; the words of the Psalmist came to 
my lips, and I murmured, " This is night which 
showeth wisdom, and the melody of which has 
gone out through all the world." 

My meditations were somewhat rudely interrupt- 



180 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

ed by the grating of lily-pads against the sides of 
the boat. AVe had crossed the lake, and were 
entering the river. My mood changed with the 
change of locality. The lover of nature w^as in- 
stantly lost in the sportsman, and as we shot into 
the fog, which, rising above the river, from the lake 
looked like a great fleecy serpent twined amid the 
hills, eye and ear were all alert to detect the pres- 
ence of game. But we were doomed to delay. 
For nearly two miles we crept through tlie damp 
and chilly fog, hearing nothing to interru23t the 
profound silence save the occasional plunge of a 
muskrat or the sputter of a frog skating along the 
surface of the water. But all of a sudden, wdien 
heart and hope were about to fail, some distance 
ahead of us w^e heard the well-known sounds, 
k-splash, k-splash, and knew that a deer, and a 
large one too, was making for the shore. Here 
our adventures began. I signalled Martin, by a 
desperate " hitch " on the thwart, to run the boat 
at full speed toward the sound. He did. The 
light shell shot through the fog, and when in 
swift career struck the bank, bow on. Martin was 
tremendous at the paddle, and a little more force 
would have divided that marsh from side to side ; 
as it was, the thin, lath-like boat was buried a third 
of its length amid the bogs and marsh-grass. With 
much struggle, and several suppressed but sugges- 
tive exclamations from Martin, we extricated th^ 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 181 

boat from the meadow and shoved out into clear 
water. We had heard nothing from the deer since 
he left the river. Thinking that possibly he might 
have stopped, after gaining the bank, to look back, 
as deer often do, I rose slowly in the boat, turned 
up the jack, and peered anxiously into the fog. 
The strong reflector bored a lane through the fleecy 
mass for some fifty feet, perhaps ; even at that dis- 
tance objects mingled grotesquely with the fog. At 
the extreme end of the opening I detected a bright, 
diamond-like spark. What was it ? I turned the 
jack up, and I turned it down. I lowered myself 
until my eyes looked along the line of the grass. 
I raised myself on tiptoe. ISTothing more could be 
seen. " It may be the eye of a deer, and it may be 
only a drop of water, or a wet leaf," said I to my- 
self. Still it looked gamy. I concluded to launch 
a bullet at it anyway. Whispering to Martin to 
steady the boat, I sunk my eye well down into the 
sights, and, holding for the gleam amid the marsh- 
grass, fired. The smoke, mingling heavily with the 
fog, made all murky before me, while the explo- 
sion, striking against the mountains on either side, 
started a dozen reverberations, so that we could 
neither see nor hear what was the result of the 
shot. After waiting in silence a few moments, 
hoping to hear the deer " kick," without any such 
happy result, I told Martin I would go ashore to 
load, and see what it was I had shot at. He paddled 



182 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

forward, and, seizing the tall grass, while he forced 
the boat in against the bank with his paddle, I 
clambered up. Being curious to ascertain what 
had deceived me, I strode off into the marsh 
some forty feet, and, turning up the jack, lo and 
behold a dead deer lay at my feet ! " Martin," 
shouted I, " here the deer is, dead as a tick ! " 

"The d — -1!" exclaimed the guide from the fog. 

" What did you say ? " again I shouted. 

" I said I did n't believe it," returned Martin, 
soberly. 

" Paddle your canoe up here, then, you old scep- 
tic, and see for yourself," I rejoined, taking the 
deer by the ear and dragging him to the bank. 
" Here he is, and a monster too." Martin did as 
directed. " Well," exclaimed he, as he unbent his 
gaunt form from the curve into which two hours 
of paddling had cramped it, and straightened him- 
self to his full height, until his eyes rested upon the 
buck, — " well, Mr. Murray, you are the first man 
I ever saw draw a fine bead in a night like this, 
standing in the bow of a Saranac boat, at the twin- 
kle of a deer's eye, and hill. That jack of yours is 
a big thing, and no mistake." By the time he had 
finished, the boat had drifted off into the river, — 
for the current was quite strong at that point, — ■ 
and 1 was alone. I was just fitting a cap to the 
tube of the recharged barrel, when I felt a move- 
ment at my feet, and, casting my eyes downward. 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 183 

I saw that the deer was in the act of getting wp ! 
The ball, as we afterward discovered, had glanced 
along the front of the skull, barely creasing the 
skin. It had touched the bone slightly, and 
stunned him so that he dropped ; but beyond this, 
it had not hurt him in the least. Quick as 
thought, I put my foot against his shoulder and 
pushed him over. " Martin," I cried, " this deer 
is n't dead ; he 's trying to get up. What shall I 
do?" 

" Not dead ! " exclaimed he, shouting from the 
middle of the river through the dense fog. 

" No, he is n't dead ; far from it. He is mighty 
lively, and getting more and more so," I returned, 
now having my hands full to keep the deer down. 
" Come out and help me. What shall I do ? " 

" Get hold of his hind leg ; I '11 be with you in 
a minute," was the answer. 

I did as directed. I laid hold of his left hind leg, 
just above the fetlocks, and sprang to my feet. 

Eeader, did you ever seize a pig by the hind 
leg ? If so, multiply that pig by ten ; for every 
twitch he gives, count six ; lash a big lantern to 
your head ; fancy yourself standing alone on a 
swampy marsh in a dark, foggy night, with a rifle 
in your left hand, and being twitched about among 
the bogs and in and out of muskrat-holes, until 
your whole system seems on the point of a sepa- 
ration which shall send you in a thousand in- 



184 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

finitesimal parts in all directions, like fragments 
of an exploding buzz-wheel, and you have my 
appearance and feelings as I w^as jerked about 
that night amid the mire and marsh-grass, as I 
clung to the leg of that deer. Now, when I fas- 
ten to anything, I always expect to hold on. 
This was my determination when I put my fin- 
gers round that buck's leg. I have a tremendous 
griiJ. My father had before me. With his hande 
at a two-inch auger-hole in the head of a barrel, I 
have seen him clutch, now with his right, now wdth 
his left hand, twenty-two house-rats as they came 
darting out to escape the stick with which 1 was 
stirring them up, and dash them dead upon the 
floor, without getting a single bite ; and everybody 
knows that a rat, in full bolt, comes out of a barrel 
like a flash of lightning. I fully expected to main- 
tain the family ^^restige for grip. I did. I stuck 
to that deer with all my power of arm and will. I 
felt it to be a sort of personal contest between him 
and myself Nevertheless, I w^as perfectly willing 
at any time to let go. I had undertaken the job at 
the request of another, and w^as ready to surrender 
it instantly upon demand. 1 shouted to Martin to 
get out of that boat mighty quick if he w^anted to 
take his deer home, for I should n't hold on to him 
much longer. It took me about two minutes to de- 
liver that sentence. It w^as literally jerked out of 
me, word by word. Never did I labor under greater 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 185 

embarrassment in expressing myself. In the mean 
while Martin was meeting with ditticulty. The 
bank of the river was steep, and the light cedar 
shell, with only himself in it, was out of all bal- 
ance, and hard to manage. It may be that his 
very strong desire to get on to that meadow 
where I was holding his deer for him operated 
to confuse and embarrass his movements ! He 
would propel the boat at full speed toward the 
bank, then jump for the bow; but his motion 
forward would release the boat from the mud, 
and when he reached the bow the boat would be 
half-way across the river again. Now Martin is a 
man of great patience. He is not by any means a 
profane person. He had always shown great re- 
spect for the cloth. But everybody will see that 
his position was a very trying one. Three several 
times, as he afterward informed me, did he drive 
that boat into the bank, and three several times, 
when he got to the bow, that boat was in the mid- 
dle of the river. At last Martin's patience gave 
way, and out of the fog came to my ears ejacula- 
tions of disgust, and such strong expletives as 
are found only in choice old English, and howls 
of mge and disappointment that none but a guide 
could utter in like circumstances. But liuman 
endurance has a limit. I was fast reaching a 
condition of mind when family pride and trans;>-yr>r~j>>. 
mitted powers of resolution fail. Wliat did I 0^6 <^ 

fe N'tWTON, 3 



186 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

for my father's exploit with the rats at the two- 
inch auger-hole ? What did the family grip 
amount to after all? I was fast losing sight of 
the connection such vanities sustained to me. I 
was undergoing a rapid change in many respects, 
— of body as well as mind ! When I got hold of 
that deer's leg, I was mentally full of pluck and 
hope; my hunting-coat, of Irish corduroy, was 
whole and tightly buttoned. Now, mentally, I 
was demoralized ; every button was gone from 
the coat, and the right sleeve hung disconnected 
with the body of the garment. The jack had been 
jerked from my head, and lay a rod off in the 
marsh-orass. I could hold on no lon^jer. I would 
make one more effort, one more appeal. I did. 
" Martin," said I, " are n't you ever going to get 
out of that boat ? " 

The heavy thug of the boat against the bank, an 
explosive and sputtering noise which sounded very 
much like the word " damn " spoken from between 
shut teeth, a splash, a scramble, and then I caught 
sight of the gaunt form of Martin, paddle in hand 
and hunting-knife between his teeth, loping along 
toward me, through the tall, rank grass. But, 
alas ! it was too late. The auspicious moment 
had passed. My fingers one by one loosened 
their hold, and the deer, gathering all his strength, 
with a terrific elevation of his hind feet sent me 
reeling backward, just as Martin, doubled up into 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 187 

a heap, was about to alight upon his back. He 
missed the back, but, as good luck would have it, 
2ven while the buck was in the air, — the deer 
going up as Martin came down, — the fingers of 
the guide closed with a full and desperate grip 
upon his tail. Quick as a flash I recovered myself 
from the bogs, replaced the jack, which fortu- 
nately had not been extinguished, upon my head, 
and stood an interested spectator of the proceed- 
ings. Now everybody knows how a wild deer 
can jump when frightened; and the buck, with 
Martin fastened to his tail, was thoroughly 
roused. The first leap straightened the poor fellow 
out like a lathe, but it did not shake him from his 
hold. If the reader has ever seen a small boy 
hanging to the tail-board of a wagon, when the 
horse was at full speed, he can form a faint idea 
of Martin's appearance as the deer tore like a 
whirlwind through the tall grass. Blinded and 
bewildered by the light, frenzied with fear, the 
buck, as deer often will, instead of leading off, 
kept racing up and down just within the border 
of light made by the jack, and occasionally mak- 
ing a bolt directly for it. My position was 
unique. I was the sole spectator of a series of 
gymnastic evolutions truly original. Small as the 
audience was, the performers were thoroughly in 
earnest. Had there been ten thousand spectators, 
^he actors could not have laid themselves out with 



188 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

greater energy. No applause could have got anoth- 
er inch of jump out of the buck, or another inch 
of horizontal position out of Martin. Whenever, 
at lono- intervals, his feet did touch the o-round, it 
was only to leave it for another and a higher aerial 
plunge. Now and then the buck would take a short 
stretch into the fog and darkness, only to reappear 
with the same inevitable attachment of arms and 
leo'S streamino; behind. The scene was too ludi- 
crous to be endured in silence. The desperate ex- 
pression of Martin's face, as he was swung round and 
jerked about, was enough to make a monk explode 
with laughter while doing penance. I rested my 
hands on either knee, and laughed until tears rolled 
down my cheeks. The merriment was all on my 
side. Martin was silent as death, save when the 
buck, in some extraordinary and desperate leap, 
twitched a grunt out of him. Between my parox- 
ysms I exhorted him : it was my time to exhort. 
'' Martin," I shouted, " hang on ; that 's your deer. 
I quit all claim to him. Hang on, I say. Save 
his tail anyhow." 

Wliether Martin appreciated the advice, wheth- 
er he exactly saw where the " laugh came in," 1 
cannot say, and he could not explain. Still, I am 
led to think that it was to him no trifling affair, 
bui a matter which moved him profoundly. At 
last the knife was jerked from his teeth, either 
because of the violence of his exertion, or because 



JACK- SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 189 

he had inadvertently loosened his grasp on it. 
Be tliis as it may, ^lartin's mouth was at last 
opened, and out of it were projected some of the 
most extraordinary expressions I ever heard. His 
sentences were singularly detached. Even his words 
were widely separated, but brought out with great 
emphasis. He averaged about one word to a jump. 
H' another got partially out, it was suddenly and 
ruthlessly snapped off in mid utterance. The 
result of his efforts to express himself reached my 
ears very much in this shape : " Jump — vnll — 
you — be-e — damned — I 've-e — got — you 1 I '11 
— hold-d — on — till — your — ta-i-1 — comes — 

off-f. — Jump-2)-2J — ^6 D-D-DAMNED — I 'VE — 

got — you-u-u." 

When the contest would have ended, what 
would have been the result had it continued, 
whether the buck or the guide would have come 
oft' the winner, it is not easy to say. Nor is it 
necessary to speculate, for tlie close was speedily 
reached, and in an unlooked-for manner. The deer 
had led off' some dozen jumps out of the circle of 
light, and I was beginning to think that he had 
shaken himself loose from his enemy, when all at 
once he emerged from the fog with ^Tartin still 
streaming behind him, and made straiglit for tlie 
river. Never did I see a buck vault higher or 
project himself farther in successive leaps. The 
oaranacer was too much put to it to articulate a 
word ; only a series of grunts, as he was twitched 



190 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

along, revealed the state of his pent-up feelings 
Past me the deer flashed like a feathered shaft, 
heading directly for the bank. " Hang on, Martin ! " 
I screamed, sobered by the thought that he would 
save him yet if he could only retain his grip, — 
" hang to him like death ! " He did. Never did my 
admiration go out more strongly toward a man than 
it did toward Martin, as, red in the face and un- 
able to relieve himself by a single expression, he 
went tearing along at a frightful rate in full bolt 
for the river. Not one man in fifty could have 
kept his single-handed grip, jerked, at the close 
of such a struggle as the Saranacer had passed 
through, and twitched mercilessly as he now was 
being through the tall bog-grass and over the un- 
even ground. But the guide's blood was up, and 
nothing could loosen his clutch. The buck reached 
the bank, and, gathering himself up for a desper- 
ate leap, he flung his body into the air. I saw a 
pair of widely separated legs swing wildly up- 
ward, and the red face of Martin, head downward, 
and reversed, so as to be turned directly toward me 
by the summersault he was turning, disappeared 
like a waning rocket in the fog overhanging the 
river. Once in the water, the buck was no match 
for his foe. I hurried to the edge of the bank. 
Beneath me, and half across the river, a desperate 
struggle was going on. Martin had found his voice, 
and was using it as if to make up for lost time. In 
a moment a gurgling sound reached my ears, and 



JACK-SHOOTING IN A FOGGY NIGHT. 191 

I knew that the deer's head was under water ; and 
shortly, in answer to my hail, the guide appeared, 
dragging the buck behind him. The deer was 
drowned and quite dead. Drawin^i^- my knife across 
the still warm throat, we bled him well, and, wait- 
ing for Martin to rest himself a moment, slid him 
down into the boat and stretched him at full 
length along the bottom. Taking our places at 
either end, and, lifting our paddles, we turned our 
faces campward. Down through the dense, damp 
fog, cleaving with dripping faces its heavy folds, we 
passed ; glided out of the mist and darkness of the 
lowland upon the clear waters of the lake, now 
lively with ripples, and under the brightly shining 
stars, nor checked our measured stroke until we 
ran our shell ashore in the glimmer of the fire, by 
the side of which, rolled in his blanket, with his 
jacket for his pillow, John was quietly sleeping. 
At the touch of the boat on the beach he started 
up, and the coffee he had made ready to boil at 
our coming was shortly ready, and, as we drank 
the warming beverage with laughter which startled 
the ravens from the pines, and woke the loons, 
sleeping on the still water of Beaver Bay, we told 
John the story of our adventure with a buck up 
Marion River on a foggy night. And often, as I 
sit in my study, hot and feverish with toil which 
wearies the brain and wrinkles the face, I pause, 
and, throwing down pen and book, fancy myself 



192 



ADVE^^TURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 



once more upon that bank, enveloped in fog, with 
the buck and Martin at his tail, careering before 
me. . Then, with brain relaxed, and eyes which had 
been hot with the glimmer of the gas on the white 
sheet cooled and washed in mirthful tears, I turn 
to pen and book, and graver thoughts, refreshed 
and strengthened. Blessed be recollection, which, 
while it allows the ills and cares of life to fade 
away, enables us to carry all our pleasures and 
joys forever with us as we journey along 1 




MY JACK. 



X. 

SABBATH IN THE WOODS. 

IAEOSE early, that I might behold the gloi)' 
of morning among the mountains. As my 
eyes opened, the eastern sky was already over- 
spread as with a thin silvery veil, with the least 
trace of amber and gold amid the threads ; while 
one solitary star, like a great opal, hung suspended 
in the translucent atmosphere, with its rich heart 
glowing with red and yellow flame. 

My camp was made on the very ridge-board of 
the continent. Below me, to the south, stretched 
the Silurian beach, upon which, as Agassiz believes, 
the first ripples broke when God commanded the 
dry land to appear. As I lay reflecting upon the 
assertion of science, — that these mountains were 
among the first to ri^e out of the Profound, that here 
the continent had its infancy, that amid these 
heights the earth began to take shape and form, — 
I seemed to be able to overlook the world. JS'or was 
it at the cost of any great effort of the imagination 
that I seemed to hear, as the dawn brightened in 
the east and the rose tints deepened along the sk}-, 
AS the darkness melted, the A^apors floated up, and 



19-i ADVENTURhS IX THE WII.DERXESS. 

the atmcsj)here grew tremulous as the lance-like 
beams began to pierce it, the Voice wliich, in the 
beginning, said, " Let there be light ! " As I gazed, 
novel emotions arose witLin me. The experience 
was fresh and solemn. The air was cool, delicious. 
The earth was clothed as a queen in bridal 
robes ; and Morn, with garments steeped in sweet- 
smelling odors, her golden curls unbound and lifted 
by unseen winds, streaming abroad as a yellow 
mist, — like a maiden at the lattice of her lover, — 
stood knocking at the windows of the East, and 
saying : " Open to me, my love, my undefiled : for 
my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the 
drops of the night." 

If a person would know how sensitive his na- 
ture is, how readily it r'^^.sponds to every exhibition 
of beauty and power, how thoroughly adapted it 
is, in all its faculties^ to religious impressions, he 
must leave the haunts of men, — where every 
sight and sound distracts his attention, and checks 
the free exercises of his soul, — and, amid the 
silence of the woods, hold communion with his 
Maker. Tt is the silence of the wilderness which 
most impresses me. The hours of the Sabbath 
pass noiselessly. Xo voice of conversation, no 
sound of hurrying feet, no clangor of bells, no roll 
of wheels, disturb your meditations. You do not 
feel like reading or talking or singing. The heart 
needs neither hymn nor prayer to express its emo- 



SABBATH IN THE WOODS. 195 

tions. Even the Bible lies at your side unlifted. 
The letters seem dead, cold, insutficient. You feel 
as if the very air was God, and you had passed into 
that land where Avritten revelation is not needed ; 
for you see tlie Infinite as eye to eye, and feel him 
in you and above you and on all sides. It is true, at 
intervals, you turn to the Bible. You have your 
reading moods, when some apt passage, some appro- 
priate selection or chapter, is read, with a profit and 
rapture never before experienced. But this mood I 
believe to be the exception. Ordinarily, the spirit 
is above the letter. The action of eye and voice in- 
terfere with the sentiment. You do not want to 
read, but think. When you feel the presence of a 
friend, have his hand in yours, see him at your very 
side, you do not need to take up a letter and read 
that he is with you. So with God : in the silence 
of the woods the soul apprehends him instincti^•ely. 
He is everywhere. ' In the fir and pine, wdiich, 
like the tree of life, shed their leaves every month, 
and are forever green ; in the w^ater at your feet, 
wdiich no paddle has ever vexed and no taint pol- 
luted, rivalling that which is as " pure as crystal " ; 
in the mountains, w^hich, in every literature, have 
been associated wdth the Deity, you see Him who 
of old time was conceived of as a " Dweller among 
the hills." With such s3anbols and manifestations 
of God around, you need not go to the lettered page 
to learn of him. The Bible, with its print and 



196 ADVENTURES IN THE V.ILDEKKESS. 

paper, is a hindrance rather than a help. Lil:e a 
glass with too narrow a field, it concentrates the 
vision too much. It clips the wings of the i:::?.f;i- 
nation, and narrows the circle of its flight. T-:o 
spirit which, for the first time, perhaps, has escaped 
the bonds of ibrmal worship, for the first timj 
tasted of freedom and tested its capacities to soar, 
returns regretfully to the restraint and bondage of 
book and speech. It takco these up as an angel, 
whose hands have once swept a heavenly harp, 
touches again the strings of an earthly instru- 
ment. 

This I have always observed, tliat the memory 
is unusually active, and takes great delight in 
recalling texts of Scripture and devotional hymns, 
wdien brouoht under tlie influence of nature. Pas- 
sages from the Psalms, which I do not remember 
that I ever committed ; fragments of old and solemn 
hymns, hewn I know not from what block, long- 
forgotten if ever learned ; snatches of holy melody, 
— echoes awakened by what A^oice you cannot tell 
come floating back upon you, or rise at the bidding 
of the will. Often have I said to myself, " Alas ! 
even memory is in bondage to sin." Nature, 
through her refining and spiritualizing agencies, 
emancipates it ; and sweet is it to think that, by 
and by, wdien our grossness is entirely purged 
away, all pure things passed b\' or forgotten will 
come back to us, and the past, in reference to what- 



SABBATH IN THE WOODS. 197 

ever of goodness and truth it had in it, will be, to 
the holy, an eternal present. Such has been my 
experience, in reference to religious impressions, 
felt amid the solitude of forests. It takes more 
than one season to analyze your emotions. The 
mind, for a while deprived of the customary re- 
straints and incitements of forms and ceremonies, 
is in a chaotic state. Thoughts come and go with- 
out order. Emotions are irregular and inconstant. 
The Occidental cast of intellect which conceives 
of God largely through the reason, changes slowly 
into the Oriental. It analyzes less, but it adores 
far more. The religion of the forest is emotional 
and poetic. No mathematician was ever born amid 
the pines. The Psalms could never have been 
written by one not inspired hj the l3reath of the 
hills. The soul, when it spreads its wings for tiight 
upward, must start from the summit of moun- 
tains. It must have the help of altitude, or no 
movement of wings will lift it. And I dare to say 
that he who has never passed a Sabbath amid the 
solemn loneliness of an uninhabited region, has 
never knelt in prayer at the base of overhanging 
mountains, has never fallen asleep with no roof 
above him but that of tlie heavens, and no protec- 
tion from the dangers \\hich lurk amid the dark- 
ness of the night season save the watchful care of 
God, can realize little the significance of these two 
words, — Adoration and Faith. 



198 ADVENTURES IX THE WILDERNESS. 

The day wore on as I mused. The sun passed 
the meridian line, and soon the shadows of the pines 
and hills began to stretch their cone-like forma- 
tions out toward the east. As I gazed upon the 
landscape, with a hundred mountains within sweep 
of my eye, at whose feet lake after lake lay in peace- 
ful repose, and between which numberless streams 
flowed, gleaming amid the forests of pine and fir 
as threads of silver woven into a robe of Lincoln- 
oreen, I thou^i^ht of the words of Isaiah : " I v/ill 
open rivers in high places, and fountains in the 
midst of the valleys. I will make tlie wilderness 
a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water." 
" The beast of the field shall honor me, and the owls, 
because I give waters in the wilderness and riA-ers 
in the desert." And I said to myself, " Surely He 
sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run 
among the hills.' " About three o'clock in the after- 
noon, as I sat looking out upon the lake, a heavy 
jar shook the earth, and simultaneously the air vi- 
brated with the sound of thunder. Turning my 
eyes toward the west, I perceived a whitish mist 
gathering along the mountains, while a few ragged 
scuds came racing up from behind it, and I knew 
that in the valleys westw^ard columns 'of storm 
were moving to the onset. 

Amid this mountainous region tempests give 
brief warning of their approach. Walled in as 
th^se lakes are by mountains, behind which the 



SABBATH IN THE WOODS. 199 

cloud gathers unseen, the coming of a storm is like 
the spring of a tiger. A sudden peal of thunder, a 
keen shaft of lightning which cuts througli the 
atmosphere in front of your startled vision, a puff 
of air, or the spinning of a wliirlwind across the 
lake, and the tempest is upon you. So was it now. 
Even as I gazed into the white mist, a heavy bank 
of jet-black cloud rose up through its feathery 
depths, unrolled itself as a battery unlimbers for 
battle, and the next instant a sheet of flame darted 
out of its very centre, and the air seemed rent into 
fragments by tiie concussion. Here was an exhi- 
bition of grandeur and power such as one seldom 
beholds ; and yet it did not seem out of harmony 
with the day. Behold, I said to myself, the sym- 
ool of the old dispensation. Here is Sinai, the 
terror, and the cloud ; here is law and judgment, 
v^enojeance and wrath. And there, I said, turnino- 
to the eastern ridge, upon whose crest the sun, not 
yet obscured, shone warmly, is the symbol of the 
new, — of Calvary, its light and love. Warned V)y 
ihe scattering drops which, plunging through the 
air, smote like shot upon the beach and water, I 
'hastened to the lodge ; and as, seated in the door, 
I gazed into the dark masses now rolled in wild 
convolutions together, — through whose gloomy 
folds the winds roared and rushed, tearino- the dark- 
ness into d)redrj, and scattering black patches on 
every j-ide, - - I thought of Him who " clothes the 



200 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

heavens witli l)la.ckness, and makes sackcloth 
their covering." 

The storm passed. The cloud toward the west 
grew thinner, and broke into rifts and ridges, 
through which the sun sent its radiance in diverg- 
ing columns. As the beams deepened and spread 
across the cloud, an arch of purple and gold began 
to creep over it. Beginning at the southern and 
northern extremities, the colors clomb upward un- 
til they joined themselves togetlier at the centre, 
and there, with two mountains for its pedestals, 
the magnificent arch stood spanning the inky mass 
from north to south ; and as I sat silently gazing 
upon the resplendent symbols of God's abiding 
mercy, which stood out in full relief against the 
sombre cloud, in whose bosom might still be licard 
the roll of thunder, I remembered the language of 
Ezekiel, Avhere he says, " I fell upon my face, and 
I heard a voice of one that spake ; for the ap]3ear- 
ance was of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." 
Suddenly the colors faded away. The sun had 
called home his beams, and the glory of their re- 
flection deserted the cloud. I turned my eyes to 
the west, and up to the summit of the mountain 
overhanging our camp. For a inoment the glowing 
orb stood as thougli balanced on the top cf the pines; 
for a moment lake and forest and mountain were 
ablaze with its radiance ; the next it dropped from 
sight. The dark trees gloomily outlined themselves 



SABBATH IN THE WOODS. 20 i 

against the clear 1 )lue of the sky ; and, as the shad- 
ows deepened, I thought of the day foretold in tlie 
Apocalypse, when "our sun shall no more go 
down, neither shall the moon withdraw herself 
For the Lord shall be our everlasting light, and 
the days of our mourning shall be ended." 

The day was over. Niglit spread her sable 
wings over the camp, and the lake darkened under 
the shadow. On the sky and highest peaks a few 
patches of crimson were still visible. For a few 
moments an aureole lingered around the head of 
•Blue Mountain. The pines which adorn its crest 
gleamed like the rich plume of a king when he 
rideth at noonday to battle. One instant the 
beams lingered lovingly about the summit, and 
then, obedient to a summons from the west, 
flew to join their companions in another hemi- 
sphere. And now began the mar\'ellous transfor- 
mations from day to night. The clouds were rolled 
together and lifted from sight. Unseen hands 
flung out new tapestry for the skies, and lighted 
lamps innumerable around the circling galleries, 
as though the Sabbath had passed from earth, and 
the heavens were being made ready for service. 
If the day had been suggestive, much more so 
was the night. To the north tlie Dipper hung 
suspended royally against the blue of the sky, 
journeying in silent revolution around the polr.r 
star. Farther eastward, and higher up, tlie mourn- 

9* 



202 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

fill Pleiades Legnii tlieir nightly search for their lost 
sister. In the zenith a meteor wavered and trem- 
bled for a moment, then fell and faded away. " A 
wandering star," I said, " to which is reserved the 
blackness of darkness forever." The balsams felt 
the dew, and from their pendant spears dropped 
odors. I rolled myself in my blanket, and. lay 
gazing upward. A thousand recollections thronged 
upon me ; a thousand hopes rose uj) within me. 
The lieavens elicited confidence, and unto them I 
breathed my aspirations. I felt that He who tell- 
eth the number of the stars took note of me. The 
Spirit which garnished the heavens would grant me 
audience. I approached Him reverently, and yet. 
with confidence, for I remembered that it is writ- 
ten, " the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, 
and the earth shall wax old like a garment, but 
my salvation shall be forever, and my righteous- 
ness shall not be abolished." 

Then, without help of book or spoken woyd, I 
committed myself to Him, in whose sight the 
night is as the day ; and, alone in that vast wilder- 
ness, far from liome and friends, I closed my eyes 
and slept as one who sleeps on a guarded bed. 



XI. 

A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A 
FREIGHT-CAR. 

SHOULD the reader ever visit the soutli inlet 
of Racquette Lake, — one of the loveliest bits 
of water in the Adirondack Wilderness, — at the 
lower end of the pool, below the falls, on the left- 
hand side going np, he will see the charred rem- 
nants of a camp-fire. It was there that the fol- 
lowing story was first told, — told, too, so graphi- 
cally, with snch vividness, that I fonnd little diffi- 
culty, wlien writing it out from memory, two 
months later, in recalling the exact words of the 
narrator in almost every instance. 

It was in the month of July, 1868, that John 
and I, having located our permanent camp on 
Constable's Point, were lying off and on, as sailors 
say, about the lake, pushing our explorations on all 
sides out of sheer love oi novelty and abhorrence 
of idleness. We were returning, late one afternoon 
of a hot, sultry day, from a trip to Shedd Lake, — a 
lonely, out-of-the-way spot wliich few sportsmen 
have ever visited, — and had reached the falls on 
South Inlet just after sunset. As we were getting 



204 ADVKNTUKES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

short of venison, we decided to lie by awliile, and 
float down the ri^'e^ on our \vay to camp, in hope 
of meeting a deer. To this end we had gone 
ashore at this point, and, kindling a small fire, 
were waiting for denser darkness. We had barely 
started the l)laze, when tlie tap of a carelessly 
handled paddle against the side of a boat warned 
us that we should soon have company, and in a 
moment two boats glided around the curve below, 
and were headed directly toward our bivouac. The 
boats contained two gentlemen and their guides. 
We gave them a cordial, hunter-like greeting, and, 
lighting our pipes, were soon engaged in cheerful 
conversation, spiced with story-telling. It might 
have been some twenty minutes or more, when 
another boat, smaller than you ordinarily see even 
on those waters, containing only the paddler, came 
noiselessly around the bend below, and stood re- 
vealed in the reflection of the fireliglit. I chanced 
to be sitting in such a position as to command a 
full view of the curve in the river, or I should not 
have known of any approach, for the boat was so 
sharp and light, and he who urged it along so 
skilled at the paddle, that not a ripple, no, nor the 
sound of a drop of water falling from blade or shaft, 
betrayed the paddler's presence. If there is any- 
thing OA^er which I become enthusiastic, it is such 
a boat and such paddling. To see a boat of bark or 
cedar move through the water noiseless] y as a cloud 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR. 205 

shadow drifts across a meadow, no jar or creak 
above, no gurgling of displaced water below, no 
whirling and rippling wake astern, is something 
bordering so nearly on the weird and ghostly, that 
custom can never make it seem other than marvel- 
lous to me. Thus, as I sat, half reclining, and saw 
that little shell come floating airily out of the dark- 
ness into the projection of the lirelight, as a feather 
might come, blown l)y the night-wind, I thought 
I had never seen a prettier or more fairy-like sight. 
None of the party save myself were so seated as to 
look down stream, and I wondered which of the 
three guides would first discover the presence of 
the approaching boat. Straight on it came. Light 
as a piece of finest cork it sat upon and glided over 
the surface of the river; no dip and roll, no drop 
of falling water as the paddle-shaft gently rose and 
sank. The paddler, whoever he might be, knew 
his art thoroughly. He sat erect and motionless, 
the turn of the wrists, and the easy elevation of his 
arms as he feathered his paddle, were the only 
movements visible. Bnt for these, the gazer might 
deem him a statue carved from the material of the 
boat, a mere inanimate part of it. I have boated 
much in bark canoe and cedar shell alike, and 
John and I haxe stolen on many a camp that 
never knew our coming or our going, with paddles 
which touclied tlie water as snow-flakes touch the 
earth ; and well I knew, as I sat gazing at this man, 



206 AD\'EXTLR1-:S IN 'IHK AVILDERNESS. 

that not one boatman, reJ ma:i or Avliiuc, i:i a hun- 
dred could handle a padJle Lka tliat. The quick 
ear of John, when the stranger \v.i:s within thirty 
feet of the landing, detected the liglitest posoiblo 
touch of a lily-jjad against the side of the boat as 
it just grazed it glancing by, and hii "Hist!" and 
sudden motion toward the river drew the attention 
of the whole surprised group thither. The boat 
glided to the sand so gently as barely to disturb a 
grain, and the paddler, noiseless in all his move- 
ments, stepped ashore and entered our circle. 

" Well, stranger," said John, " I don't know how 
long your fingers have polished a paddle-shaft, but 
it is n't every man who can push a boat up ten 
rods of open water within twentj^ feet of my back 
without my knowing it." 

The stranger laughed pleasantly, and, without 
making any direct reply, lighted his pipe and 
joined in the conversation. He was tall in stature, 
wiry, and l^ronzed. • An ugly cicatrice stretched on 
the left side of his face, from temple almost down to 
chin. His eyes were dark gray, frank, and genial. 
r concluded at once that he was a gentleman, and 
had seen service. Before he joined us, we had 
been whiling away the time by story-telling, and 
John was at the very crisis of an adventure 
with a panther, when his cpiick ear detected the 
stranger's approach. Explaining this to him, I told 
John to resume, his story, which he did. Thus 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR. 20? 

half an hour passed (|uickly, all of us relating some 
" experience." At last I proposed that Mr. Eoberts 
— for so we will call him — should entertain us ; 
*' and/' continued I, " if I am right in my surmise 
that you have seen service and been under fire, giA'e 
us some adventure or incident; which may have 
])efallen you during the war." He complied, and 
then and there, oentle reader, I heard from his 
lips tlie story which, for the entertainment of 
friends, I afterward wrote out. It left a deep im- 
pression upon all who heard it around our camp- 
fire under the pines that night ; and from the mind 
of one I know has never been erased the impres- 
sion made by the story, which I have named 



A RIDE WITH A ]MAD HORSE IX A FREIGHT- 
CAR. 

" Well," said the stranger, as he loosened his belt 
and stretched himself in an easy, recumbent posi- 
tion, " it is not more than fair that I should throw 
something into the stock of common entertain- 
ment ; but the story I am to tell you is a sad one, 
and, I fear, will not add to the pleasure of the 
evening. As you desire it, however, and it comes 
in the line of the request that I would narrate 
some personal episode of the war, I will tell it, and 
trust the impression will not be altogether unpleas- 
ant. 



208 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

" It was at the battle of Malvern Hill, — a battle 
where the carnage was more frightful, as it seems 
to me, than in any this side of the Alleghanies dur- 
ing the whole war, — that my story must begin. 1 
was then serving as Major in the — th ^lassachu- 
setts Eegiment, — the old — th, as we used to call 
it, — and a bloody time the boys had of it too. 
About 2 p. M., we had been sent out to skirmish 
along the edge of tlie wood in which, as our gen- 
erals suspected, the Eebs lay massing for a charge 
across the slope, upon the crest of which our army 
was posted. We liad barely entered tlie under- 
brush when we met the heavy formations of j\Ia- 
gruder in the very act of charging. Of course, 
our thin line of skirmishers was no impediment 
to those onrushing masses. They were on us and 
over us before we could get out of the way. I do 
not think that half of those running, screaming 
masses of men ever knew that they had passed 
over the remnants of as plucky a regiment as ever 
came out of the old Bay State. But many of 
the boys had good reason to rememlier that after- 
noon at the base of Malvern Hill, and I among the 
number ; for when the last line of Eebs had passed 
over me, I was left amid the bushes Avith the breath 
nearly trampled out of me, and an ugly bayonet-gash 
through my thigh ; and mighty little consolation 
was it for me at that moment to see the fellow 
who run me through lying stark dead at my side. 



A RIDE WITH A MAD rIORSE IN A CAR. 209 

with a bullet-hole in his head, his shock of coarse 
black hair matted Avith blood, and liis stony eyes 
looking into mine. Well, I bandaged up my limb 
the best I might, and started to crawd away, for 
our batteries liad opened, and the grape and canis- 
ter that came hurtling dow^n the slope passed but 
a few feet over my head. It was slow and painful 
work, as you can imagine, but at last, by dint of 
perse\ erance, I had dragged myself away to the 
left of the direct range of the batteries, and, creep- 
inf][ to the veroe of the wood, looked off over the 
green slo2:»e. I understood by the crash and roar 
of the guns, the yells and cheers of the men, and 
that hoarse murmur which those who have been 
in battle know, but wdiich I cannot describe in 
words, that there w^as liot work going on out there ; 
but never have I seen, no, not in that three days' 
desperate milec at the Wilderness, nor at that ter- 
rific repulse we had at Cold Harl)or, such al)solute 
slaughter as I saw that afternoon on tlie green 
slope of Malvern Hill. The guns of the entire 
army were massed on the crest, and thirty thousand 
of our infantry lay, musket in hand, in front. For 
eight hundred yards the hill sank in easy declen- 
sion to the wood, and across the smooth expanse 
the Eebs must charge to reach our lines. It was 
nothing short of downright insanity 4:o order men 
to charge that hill ; and so his generals told Lee, 
but he would not listen to reason that day, and so 



210 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

he sent regiment after regiment, and brigade after 
brigade, and division after division, to certain death. 
Talk about Grant's disregard of human life, his 
effort at Cold Harbor — and I ought to know, for I 
got a niinie in my shoulder that day — was hope- 
ful and easy work to what Lee laid on Hill's and 
Magruder's divisions at Malvern. It was at the 
close of the second charge, when the yelling mass 
reeled back from before the blaze of those sixty 
guns and thirty thousand rifles, even as they begar 
to break and Hy backward toward the woods, thai 
T saw from the spot where I lay a riderless horse 
break out of the confused and flying mass, and. 
with mane and tail erect and spreading nostril, 
come dashing obliquely down the slope. Over 
fallen steeds and heajDS of the dead she leaped with 
a motion as airy as that of the flying fox, when, 
fresh and unjaded, he leads away from the hounds, 
whose sudden cry has broken him off from hunt- 
ing]: mice amid the bo^^js of the meadow. So this 
riderless horse came vaulting along. Now from m}'- 
earliest boyhood I have had what horsemen call a 
' weakness ' for horses. Only give me a colt of 
wdld, irregular temper and fierce blood to tame, 
and I am perfectly happy. Never did lash of 
mine, singing Avith cruel sound through the air, 
fall on such a colt's soft hide. Never did yell or 
kick send his hot blood from heart to head delug- 
ing his sensitive brain with fiery currents, driving 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR. 211 

him to frenzy or blinding him with fear ; but 
touches, soft and gentle as a woman's, caressinsj 
words, and oats gi\'en from the open palm, and 
unfailing kindness, were the means T used to ' sub- 
jugate' him. Sweet subjugation, both to him 
who subdues and to him who yields ! The wild, 
unmannerly, and unmanageable colt, the fear of 
horsemen the country round, finding in you, not 
an enemy l)ut a friend, receiving his daily food 
from you, and all those little ' nothings ' which go 
as far with a horse as a woman, to Avin and retain 
affection, grows to look upon you as his protector 
and friend, and testifies in countless ways his fond- 
ness for you. So when I saw this horse, with 
action so free and motion so graceful, amid that 
storm of bullets, my heart involuntarily went out 
to her, and my feelings rose higher and higher at 
every leap she took from amid the whirlwind of 
hre and lead. And as she plunged at last over 
a little hillock out of range and came careering 
toward me as only a riderless horse might come, 
her head flung wildly from side to side, lier nostriis 
widely spread, her flank and shoulders flecked with 
foam, her eye dila^in; •, I forgot my wound and all 
the wild roar of battle, and, lifting myself invol- 
untarily to a sitting posture as she swept grandly 
by, gave her a ringing cheer. 

" Perhaps in the gound of a human voice of 
happy mood amid the aw^ful din slie recognized a 



212 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

resemblance to the voice of him whose blood 
moistened her shoulders and was even yet dripping 
from saddle and housings. Be that as it may, no 
sooner had my voice sounded than she flung her 
head Avith a proud upward movement into the air, 
swerA^ed sharply to the left, neighed as she might 
to a master at morning from her stall, and came 
trotting directly up to where I lay, and pausing, 
looked down upon me as it were in compassion. 
I spoke again, and stretched out my hand caress- 
ingly. She pricked her ears, took a step forward 
and lowered her nose until it came in contact Avith 
my palm. Never did I fondle anything more ten- 
derly, ncA^er did I see an animal wliich seemed 
to so court and appreciate human tenderness as 
that beautiful mare. I say ' beautiful.' No other 
word might describe her. NcA^er Avill her image 
fade froia my memory Avhile memory lasts. 

" In Aveight she might have turned, AA'hen AAell 
conditioned, nine hundred and fifty pounds. In 
color she Av^as a dark chestnut, AAdtli a velvety 
deptli and soft look about the hair indescribably 
ricli and elegant. Many a time liaA'e I heard 
ladies dispute the shade and hue of her plush-likc 
coat as they ran their white, jeAA^elled fingcro 
through her silken hair. Her body Avas roiind i:i 
the barrel, and perfectly symmetrical. She Avas 
wide in the haunches, AAathout projection of the 
hip-bones, upon Avhich the shorter ribs seemed to 



A EIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR. 213 

laj) High ill the \\ithers as she was, tlie line of 
her back and neck perfectly curved, while her 
deep, oblique shoulders and long thick fore-arm, 
ridgy with swelling sinews, suggesting the perfec- 
tion of stride and power. Her knees across the 
pan were wide, the cannon-bone below them short 
and thin ; the pasterns long and sloping ; her hoofs 
round, dark, shiny, and well set on. Her mane 
was a shade darker than her coat, fine and thin, 
as a thoroughbred's always is whose blood is with- 
out taint or cross. Her ear was thin, sharply 
pointed, delicately curved, nearly black around the 
borders, and as tremulous as the leaves of an 
aspen. Her neck rose from the withers to the 
head in perfect curvature, hard, devoid of fat, and 
well cut up under the chops. Her nostrils were full, 
very full, and thin almost as parchment. The eyes, 
from which tears might fall or fire fiash, were well 
brought out, soft as a gazelle's, almost human in 
their intelligence, while over the small bony head, 
over neck and shoulders, yea, over the whole body 
and clean down to the hoofs, the veins stood out as 
if the skin w^ere Ijut tissue-paper against which the 
w^arm blood pressed, and which it might at any 
moment burst asunder. ' A perfect animal,' I said 
to myself, as I lay looking her over, — ' an animal 
which might have been born from the wind and 
the sunshine, so cheerful and so swift she seems ; 
an animal wliicli a man would present as his 



214 ADVEXTURKS IN THH WILDERNESS. 

choicest <^ift to tlie wonian lie loved, and yet one 
which that wcjnian, ^^'it'e or hidy-hj\'e, would give 
him to ride when honor and life depended on bot- 
tom and speed.' 

•'All that afternoon the beautiful mare stood 
over me, while iwav to the ri^ht of us the hoarse 

' ^ CI 

tide of 1)attle flowed and ebbed. What charm, 
what delusion of memory, held her there ? Was 
my face to her as the face of her dead master, 
sleeping a sleep from which not even the wildest 
roar of battle, no, nor her cheerful neigh at morn- 
ing, would ever wake him ? Or is there in animals 
some instinct, answering to our intuition, only 
more potent, which tells them whom to trust and 
whom to avoid ? I know not, and yet some such 
sense they may have, tliey must have ; or else 
why should this mare so fearlessly attach her- 
self to me ? By Avhat process of reason or in- 
stinct I know^ not, but there she chose me for her 
master ; for when some of my men at dusk came 
searching, and found me, and, laying me on a 
stretcher, started toward our lines, the mare, un- 
compelled, of her own free will, followed at my 
side ; and all through that stormy night of wind 
and rain, as my men struggled along through the 
mud and mire toward Harrison's Landing, the mare 
followed, and ever after, until she died, was with 
me, and was mine, and I, so far a 5 i-ian might be, 
was hers. I named her Gulnare. 



A EIDK WITH A MAI) HORSE IX A CAR. 215 

" As (|uickl-r as my woiiiiJ pjrinitted, I was 
traiisporteLl to Wasluiigton, whither I took the mare 
with me. Her fondnes, for me grew daily, and 
soon becams so marked as to cause universal com- 
ment. I had her boarded, while in Washington, 

at the corner of — Street and ■ Avenue. The 

o-room had instructions to lead her round to the 
window against which was my bed, at the hospital, 
twice every day, so that by opening the sash I might 
reach out my hand and pet her. But the second 
day, no sooner had she reached the street than she 
broke suddenly from tlie groom and dashed away 
at full speed. I was lying, bolstered up in bed, 
reading, when T heard the rush of flying feet, and 
in an instant, with a joyful neigh, she checked 
herself in front of my window. And when the 
nurse lifted the sash, the beautiful creature thrust 
her head through the aperture, and ruljbed her nose 
against my shoulder like a dog. I am not ashamed 
to say that I put both my arms around her neck, and, 
burying my face in her silken mane, kissed her again 
and again. Wounded, weak, and away from home, 
with only strangers to wait upon me, and scant 
service at that, the affection of this lovely creature 
for me, so tender and touching, seemed almost hu- 
man, and my heart went out to her beyond any 
power of expression, as to tlie only being, of all the 
thousands around me, who thouglit of me and 
loved me. Shortly after her appearance at mj 



216 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

window, tlie groom, who had divined where he 
should find her, came into the yard. But sho 
would riot allow him to come near her, mucli les.i 
touch lier. If lie tried to approach she would lach 
out at him with her heels most spitefully, and then, 
laying back her ears and opening her nioutli sav- 
agely, would make a short dash at him, and, ari the 
terrified African disappeared around the corner of 
the hospital, she would wheel, and, with a face 
bright as a happy child's, come trotting to the win- 
dow for me to pet her. I shouted to the groom to 
go back to the stable, for I had no doubt but that 
she would return to her stall when 1 closed the 
windovr. Eejoiced at the permission, he departed. 
After some thirty minutes, the last ten of which 
she was standing with her slim, delicate head in 
my lap, while I l^raided her foretop and combed 
out her silken mane, I lifted her head, and, pat- 
ting her softly on either cheek, told her that 
she must 'go.' I gently pushed her head out 
of the window and closed it, and then, holding 
up my hand, ^^'ith the palm turned toward her, 
charged lier, making the appropriate motion, to ' go 
away right straight l)ack to her stable.' For a mo- 
ment she stood looking steadily at me with an in- 
(iescriljable expression of hesitation and surprise in 
her clear, liquid eyes, and then, turning lingeringly, 
walked slowly out of the yard. 

" Twice a day, for nearly a month, while 1 lay in 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR. 217 

the hospital, did Guhuire visit me. At the ap-^ 
pointed hour the groom would sHp her headstall, 
and, without a word of command, she would dart 
out of the stable, and, with her long, leopard- 
like lope, go sweeping down the street and come 
dashing into the hospital yard, checking herself 
with the same glad neigh at my window ; nor did she 
ever once fail, at the closing of the sash, to return 
directly to her stall. The groom informed me that 
every morning and evening, when the hour of her 
visit drew near, she would begin to chafe and wor- 
ry, and, l)y pawing and pulling at the halter, adver- 
tise him that it was time for her to be released. 

" But of all exhibitions of happiness, either by 
beast or man, hers was the most positive on that 
afternoon when, racing into the yard, she found me 
leaning on a crutch outside the hospital building. 
The wdiole corps of nurses came to the doors, and 
all the poor fallows that could move themselves, — 
for Gulnare had become an universal favorite, and 
the boys looked f jr her daily visits nearly, if not 
quite, as ardently as I did, — crawled to the win- 
dows to see her. What gladness was expressed in 
every movement ! She Avould come prancing to- 
ward me, head and tail erect, and, pausing, rub her 
head against my shoulder wliils I patted her glossy 
neck; then, suddenly, with a sidewise sprhig, 
she would break av-ay, and, ^^ith her long tail ele- 
vated until her magnificent brush, fine and silken 

10 



218 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

as the golden hair of a blonde, fell in a great spray 
on either flank, and her head curved to its proud- 
est arch, pace around me with that high action 
and springing step peculiar to the thoroughbred. 
Then like a flash, dropping her brush and la}dng 
back her ears, and stretching her nose straight out, 
she would speed away with that quick, nervous, 
low-lying action which marks the rush of racers, 
when, side by side, and nose to nose, lapping each 
other, with the roar of cheers on either hand and 
along the seats above them, they come straining up 
the home stretch. Eeturning from one of these ar- 
ro^vy flights, she would come curvetting back, now 
pacing sidewise, as on parade, now dashing hei 
hind feet high into the air, and anon vaulting up 
and springing through the air, with legs well under 
her, as if in the act of taking a five-barred gate, 
and, finally, would approach and stand happy in 
her reward, — my caress. 

"The war, at last, was over. Gulnare and I 
were in at the death with Sheridan at the Five 
Forks. Together we had shared the pageant at 
Eichmond and Washington, and never had I seen 
her in better spirits than on that day at the capi- 
tal. It was a sight, indeed, to see her as she came 
down Pennsylvania Avenue. If the triumphant 
procession had been all in her honor and mine, 
she could not have moved with greater grace and 
pride. With dilating eye and tremulous ear, cea^e- 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR. 219 

lessly champing her bit, her heated blood Ijriiiging 
out the magnificent lace-work of veins over her en- 
tire body, now and then pausing, and, with a snort, 
gathering herself back upon her haunches, as for a 
mighty leap, while she shook the froth from her 
bits, she moved with a higli, prancing step down 
tlie magnificent street, the admired of all beholders, 
cheer after cheer was given, huzza after huzza rang 
out over her head from roofs and balcony, bouquet 
after bouquet was launched by fair and enthusias- 
tic admirers before her ; and yet, amid the crash 
and swell of music, the cheering and tunuilt, so 
gentle and manageable was she, that, though I 
could feel her frame creep and treml)le under me 
as she moved through that whirlwind of excite- 
ment, no check or curb was needed, and the bridle- 
lines — the same she wore when she came to me 
at Malvern Hill — liy unlifted on the pommel 
of the saddle. Never l:»efore had I seen her so 
grandly herself. Never before had the fire and 
energy, the grace and gentleness, of her blood so 
revealed themselves. This was the day and the 
event she needed. And all the royalty of her an- 
cestral breed, — a race of equine kings, — fi owing 
as without taint or cross from liim that was the 
pride and wealth of the whole tribe of desert 
rangers, expressed Itself in her. I need not say 
that I sharpd her mood. I sympathizjd in her 
every step. I euteved into all her royal humors. 



220 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

I patted lier neck, and sp(.)ke loving and clieeii'jtl 
words to her. I called her my beauty, my pride, 
my pet. And did she not understand me ? Every 
word ! Else why tliat listening ear turned back 
to catch my softest whisper ? why the responsive 
quiver through the frame, and the low, happy 
neigh ? " Well," I exclaimed, as T leaped from her 
back at the close of the review, — alas ! that words 
spoken in lightest mood should portend so much ! 
— ' well, Gulnare, if you should die, your life has 
had its triumph. The nation itself, through its ad- 
miring capital, has paid tribute to your beauty, and 
death can never rob you of your fame.' And I 
patted her moist neck and foam-tlecked shoulders, 
while the grooms were busy with head and loins. 

" That night our l)rigade made its bivouac ju...t 
over Long Bridge, almost on the identical spot 
where, four years before, I had camped my compa- 
ny of three months* volunteers. AVith what ex- 
periences of niarcli and battle were tliose four 
years filled ! For three of these years Gulnare had 
been my constant companion. With me slie had 
shared my tent, and not rarely my rations, for in 
appetite she was truly human, and my steward 
always counted her as one of our ' mess.' Twice 
had she been wounded, — once at Fredericksburg, 
through the tliigh ; and once at Cold Harbor, where 
a piece of shell tore away a part of her scalp. So 
completely did it stun her, that for some moments 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR. • 221 

I thought lier dead, but to my great joy she short- 
ly recovered her senses. I had the wound carefully 
dressed by our brigade surgeon, from whose care 
she came in a month, with the edges of the wound 
so nicely united tliat the eye could with difficulty 
detect the scar. This night, as usual, she lay at 
my side, her head almost touching mine. Never 
before, unless when on a raid, and in face of 
the enemy, had I seen her so uneasy. Her 
movements during the night compelled wakeful- 
ness on my part. The sky was cloudless, and in 
the dim light I lay and watched her. Now she 
would :,tretch herself at full length, and rub her 
head on the ground. Then she would start up, 
'and, sitting on her haunches, like a dog, lift one 
fore leg and paw her neck and ears. Anon she 
would rise to her feet and shake herself, walk off 
a few rods, return, and lie down again by my side. 
I did not know Avhat to make of it, unless the 
excitement of the day had been too much for her 
sensitive nerves. I spoke to her kindly, and petted 
her. In response she would rub her nose against 
me, and lick my hand with her tongue — a pecu- 
liar habit of hers — like a dog. As I was passing 
my hand over her head, I discovered that it was 
hot, and the thought of the old wound flashed into 
my mind, with- a momentary fear that something 
might be wron^' about her brain, but, after think- 
ing it over, I dismissed it as incredible. Still I 



222 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

was alarmed, I knew tliat something was amiiss, 
and I rejoiced at the thought that I should soon 
he at home, where she could have quiet, and, if 
need be, tlie best of nursing. At length the morn- 
ing dawned, and the mare and I took our last meal 
together on Southern soil, — the last we ever took 
together. The brigade was formed in line for the 
last time, and, as I rode down the front to review 
the boys, she moved with all her old battle grace 
and power. Only now and then, by a shake of the 
head, was I reminded of her actions during the 
night. I said a few" words of farewell to the men 
whom I had led so often to battle, with whom I 
had shared perils not a few, and by Avhom, as I had 
reason to think, I was loved, and then gave, with 
a voice slightly unsteady, the last order they would 
ever receive from me : ' Brigade, attention ! Ready 
to break rs.nks/ Break ranks!' The order was 
obeyed. But ere they scattered, moved by a com- 
mon impulse, they gave first three cheers for me, 
and then, with the same heartiness and even more 
power, three cheers for Gulnare. And she, stand- 
ing there, looking with her bright, cheerful counte- 
nance full at the men, pawing with her fore 
feet, alternately, the ground, seemed to understand 
the compliment; for no sooner had the cheering 
died away than she arched her neck to its proudest 
curve, lifted her thin, delicate head into the air, 
and gave a short, joyful neigh. 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR, 223 

" My arrangements for transporting her had been 
made by a friend tlie day before. A large, roomy 
car had been secured, its floor strewn with bright, 
clean straw, a bucket, and a bag of oats provided, 
auvl everything done for her comfort. The car was 
to be attached to the through express, in consider- 
ation of fifty dollars extra, which I gladly paid, be- 
cause of the greater rapidity with which it enabled 
me to make my journey. As the brigade broke 
up into groups, I glanced at my watch and saw 
that I had barely time to reach the cars before 
they started. I shook the reins upon her neck, 
and with a plunge, startled at the energy of my 
signal, away she flew. What a stride she liad ! 
What an elastic spring ! She touched and left the 
earth as if her limbs were of spiral wire. When 
I readied the car my friend was standing in front 
cf it, the gang-plank was ready, I leaped from the 
saddle, and, running up the plank into the car, 
whistled to her ; and she, timid and hesitating, yet 
unwilling to be separated from me, crept slowly 
and ca.iti )U3ly up the steep incline, and stood be- 
side me. Inside I found a complete suit of flan- 
nel clothes, with a blanket, and, better than all, a 
lunch-basket. My friend explained that he liad 
bought the clothes as he came down to tlie depijt, 
thinking, as he said, ' that they would be mucli 
. better than your regimentals,' and suggested that I 
doff the one and don the other. To this I assented 



224 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

the more readily as I reflected that I would have 
to pass one night, at least, in the car, with no bet- 
ter bed than the straw under my feet. I had 
barely time to undress before the cars were coupled 
and started. I tossed the clotlies to my friend 
with the injunction to pack them in my trunk and 
express them on to me, and waived him my adieu. 
I arrayed myself in the nice, cool flannel, and 
looked around. The thoughtfulness of my friend 
had anticipated every want. An old cane-seated 
chair stood in one corner. The lunch-basket wa^ 
large, and Avell supplied. Amid the oats I found 
a dozen oranges, some bananas, and a package of 
real Havana cigars. How 1 called down blessings 
on his thoughtful head as I took the chair, and, 
lighting one of the fine-flavored figaros, gazed out 
on the fields past which we were gliding, yet wet 
with morning dew. As I sat dreamily admiring 
the beauty before me, Gulnare came and, resting her 
head upon my shoulder, seemed to share my mood. 
As I stroked her fine-haired, satin-like nose, recol- 
lection quickened, and memories of our compan- 
ionship in perils thronged into my mind. I rode 
again that midnii^ht ride to Knoxville, when Burn- 
side lay intrenched, desperately holding his own, 
waiting for news from Chattanooga, of which I 
was the bearer, cliosen by Grant himself because 
of the reputation of my mare. What riding that 
was ! We started, ten riders of us in all, each 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR. 225 

with the same message. I parted company the 
first hour out with all save one, an iron-gray stal- 
lion of Messenger blood. Jack Murdock rode 
him, who learned his horsemanship from buffalo 
and Indian hunting on the Plains, — not a bad 
school to graduate from. Ten miles out of Knox- 
ville the gray, his flanks dripping with blood, 
plunged up abreast the mare's shoulders and fell 
dead ; and Gulnare and I passed through the lines 
alone. / had ridden the terrible race without whip 
or spur. With what scenes of blood and flight 
she would ever be associated ! And then I thought 
of home, un visited for four long years, — that 
home I left a stripling, but to which I was return- 
ing a bronzed and brawny man. I thought of 
mother and Bob, — how they would admire her ! — 
of old Ben, the family groom, and of that one who 
shall be nameless, whose picture I had so often 
shown to Gulnare as the likeness of her future 
mistress; — had they not all heard of her, my 
beautiful mare, she who came to me from the 
smoke and whirlwind, my battle-gift ? How they 
would pat her soft, smooth sides, and tie her mane 
with ribbons, and feed her with all sweet thinc^s 

o 

from open and caressing palm ! And then I thought 
of one who might come after her to bear her name 
and repeat at least some portion of her beauty, — 
a horse honored and renowned the country tlirough, 
because of the transmission of the mother's fame. 
10* o 



226 adventurp:s in the wilderness. 

" About three o'clock in the afternoon a change 
came oxev Guhiare. I had fallen asleep upon the 
straAv, and she had come and awakened me with a 
touch of her nose. The moment I started up I 
saw that something was the matter. Her eyes 
w^ere dull and heavy. IvTever before had I seen 
the light go out of them. The rocking of the car 
as it went jumping and vibrating along seemed to 
irritate her. She began to rub her head against 
the side of the car. Touching it, I found that the 
skin over the brain was hot as fire. Her breath- 
ing grew rapidly louder and louder. Each breath 
was drawn with a kind of gasping effort. The 
lids with their silken fringe drooped wearily over 
the lustreless eyes. The head sank lower and low- 
er, until the nose almost touched the floor. The 
ears, naturally so lively and erect, hung limp and 
widely apart. The body was cold and senseless. 
A pinch elicited no motion. Even my voice was 
at last unheeded. To Avord and touch there came, 
for the first time in all our intercourse, no response. 
I knew as the symptoms spread what was the mat- 
ter. The signs bore all one way. She was in the 
first stages of phrenitis, or inflammation of the brain. 
In other words, my heautiful mare was going mad. 

" I was well versed in the anatomy of the horse. 
Loving horses from my very childhood, there was 
little in veterinary practice with which I was not 
familiar. Instinctively, as soon as the symptoms 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR, 227 

had developed themselves, and I saw under what 
frightful disorder Gulnare was laboring, I put my 
hand into my pocket for my knife, in order to open 
a. vein. There was no knife tlure. Friends, I have 
met with many surprises. More than once, in 
battle and scout, have I been nigh deatli ; but 
never did my blood desert my veins and settle so 
around the heart, never did such a sickenino- sen- 
sation possess me as when, standing in that car 
wdth my beautiful mare before me, marked with 
those horrible symptoms, I made that discovery. 
My knife, my sword, my pistols even, were with 
my suit in the care of my friend, two hundred 
miles away. Hastily, and with trembling fingers, 
1 searched my clothes, the lunch-basket, my linen ; 
not even a pin could I find. I shoved open the 
sliding door, and SAVung my hat and shouted, hop- 
ing to attract some brakeman's attention. The 
train was thundering along at full speed, and none 
saw or heard me. I knew her stupor would not 
last long. A slight quivering of the lip, an occa- 
sional spasm running through the frame, told me 
too plainly that the stage of frenzy would soon be- 
gin. 'My God!' I exclaimed, in despair, as I shut 
the door and turned toward her, ' must I see you 
die, Gulnare, when the opening of a vein would 
save you ? Have you borne me, my pet, through 
all these years of peril, the icy chill of winter, the 
heat and torment of summer, and all the thronging 



228 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

dangers of a hundred bloody battles, only to die 
torn by fierce agonies, when so near a peaceful 
home ? 

But little time was given me to mourn. My 
life was soon to be in peril, and I must summon up 
the utmost power of eye and limb to escape the 
violence of my frenzied mare. Did you ever see a 
mad horse when his madness is on him ? Take 
your stand w^ith me in that car, and you shall see 
what suffering a dumb creature can endure before 
it dies. In no malady does a horse suffer more 
than in phrenitis, or inflammation of the brain. 
Possibly in severe cases of colic, probably in rabies 
in its fiercest form, the pain is equally intense. 
These three are the most agonizing of all the dis- 
eases to which the noblest of animals is exposed. 
Had my pistols been with me, I should then and 
there, with whatever strength Heaven granted, have 
taken my companion's life, that she might be 
spared the suffering which was so soon to rack and 
wring her sensitive frame. A horse laboring under 
an attack of phrenitis is as violent as a horse can 
be. He is not ferocious as is one in a fit of rabies. 
He may kill his master, but he does it without 
design. There is in him no desire of mischief for 
its own sake, no cruel cunning, no stratagem and 
malice. A rabid horse is conscious in every act 
and motion. He recognizes the man he destroys. 
There is in him an insane desire to hill. Not so 



A RIDE WITH A IWD HORSE IN A CAR. 229 

vfitli the plirenetic horse. He is unconscious in his 
violence. He sees and recognizes no one. There 
is no method or purpose in his madness. He kills 
without knowing it. 

" I knew what Vv^as coming. I could not jump out ; 
that would he certain death. I must abide in the 
car and take my chance of life. The car was for- 
tunately high, long, and roomy. I took my position 
in front of my horse, watchful and ready to spring. 
Suddenly her lids, which had been closed, came 
open with a snap, as if an electric shock had passed 
through her, and the eyes, wild in their brightness, 
stared directly at me. And what eyes they w^ere 1 
The membrane grew red and redder, until it was of 
the color of blood, standing out in frightful contrast 
with the transparency of the cornea. The pupil 
gradually dilated until it seemed about to burst 
out of the socket. The nostrils, which had been 
sunken and motionless, quivered, swelled, and 
glowed. The respiration became short, quick, and 
gasping. The limp and drooping ears stiffened and 
stood erect, pricked sharply forward, as if to catch 
the slightest sound. Spasms, as tlie car swerved 
and vibrated, ran through her frame. More horrid 
than all, the lips slowly contracted, and the white, 
sharp-edged teeth stood uncovered, giving an in- 
describable look of ferocity to the partially opened 
inouth ! The car suddenly reeled as it dashed 
around a curve, swaying her almost off her feet, 



230 ADVENTUKES IN THE WILDERNESS, 

and, as a contortion shook her, she recovered her- 
self, and, rearing upward as high as tlie car per- 
mitted, pUmged directly at me. I was expecting 
the movement, and dodged. Then followed exhibi- 
tions of pain which I pray God I may never see 
again. Time and again did she dash herself npon 
the floor, and roll over and over, lashing out with 
her feet in all directions. Pausing a moment, she 
would stretch her body to its extreme length, and, 
lying upon her side, pjund the floor with her head 
as if it were a maul. Then, like a flash, she would 
leap to her feet, and whirl round and round, until, 
from very giddiness, she would stagger and fall. 
She would lay hold of the straw with her teeth, 
and shake it as a dog shakes a struggling wood- 
chuck ; then dashing it from her mouth, she would 
seize hold of her ovra sides, and rend herseK. 
Springing up, she would rush against the end of 
the car, falling all in a heap from the violence of 
the concussion. For some fifteen minutes, without 
intermission, the frenzy lasted. I was nearly ex- 
hausted. My efforts to avoid her mad rushes, the 
terrible tension of my nervous system produced by 
the spectacle of such exquisite and prolonged suf- 
ferino-, were weakenino- me beyond wdiat I should 
have thought it possible an hour before for anything 
to weaken me. In fact, I felt my strength leaving 
me. A terror, such as I had never yet felt, was 
taking possession of my mind. I sickened at the 



A RIDE WITH A MAD HORSE IN A CAR. 231 

siglit before me, and at the tliouglit of agonies yet 
to come. ' My God,' I exclaimed, ' must I be killed 
by my own horse in this miserable car ! ' Even as 
I spoke, the end came. The mare raised herself 
until her shoulders touched the roof, then dashed 
her body upon the floor with a violence VN^hich 
threatened the stout frame beneath her. I leaned, 
panting and exhausted, against the side of the car. 
Gulnare did not stir. She lay motionless, ^ her 
breath coming and going in lessening respirations. 
I tottered toward her, and, as I stood above her, 
my ear detected a low, gurgling sound. I cannot 
describe the feeling that followed. Joy and grief 
contended within me. I knew the meaning of 
that sound. Gulnare, in her frenzied violence, 
had broken a blood-vessel, and was bleeding inter- 
nally. Pain and life were passing away together. 
I knelt down by her side. I laid my head upon 
her shoulders, and sobbed aloud. Her body moved 
a little beneath me. I crawled forward and lifted 
her beautiful head into my lap. 0, for one more 
siojn of recoonitioh before she died ! I smoothed 
the tangled masses of her mane. I wiped, with 
a fragment of my coat, torn in the struggle, tlie 
blood which oozed from her nostril. I called her 
by name. My desire was granted. In a moment 
Gulnare opened her eyes. The redness of frenzy 
had passed out of them. She saw and recognized 
me. I spoke again. Her eye lighted a raomant 



232 ADVENTURES IN THE WILDERNESS. 

with the old and intelligeDt look of love. Her eai* 
moved ; her nostril qiiiver'^.d gently as she strove 
to neigh. The effort was in vain. Her love was 
greater than her strength. She moved her head a 
little, as if she would be nearer me, looked once 
more with her clear eyes into my face, breathed 
a long breath, straightened her shapely limbs, and 
died. And there, holding the head of my dead 
mare in my la^D, while the great warm tears fell 
one after another down my cheeks, I sat until the 
sun went down, the shadows darkened in the car, 
and night drew her mantle, cnte^c^ )\k(i my griei 
over the world." 



APPENDIX 



BEACH'S SIGHT. 

I FEEL that I cannot do my brother sportsmen 
who may read this book a greater service than by 
bringing this invention to their notice. 

The gTeat desideratum and problem with rifle- 
makers and sportsmen, as all are aware, has been to 
invent a sight that would combine all the merits of 
" bead " and " open " sight, so that the hunter would 
be able at will, and without a moment's delay, to 
use the globe or open sight, according as the game 
might be in motion or stationary, amid the shadows 
of the forest or in the sunlight of the fields, or as the 
color of the object might be dark or bright. 

All sportsmen know how vexatious it is to have to 
" rap " out one sight to insert another, necessitating 
as it does tedious delay and the wearisome process 
of "sighting," when there may be neither time 
nor powder to spare, and no appliances at hand to 
effect an accurate adjustment. 

In this invention this desideratum is met, and the 
solution found. 

By a glance at the following cuts, every man ac- 
quainted with the rifle will see how completely Mr. 



234 



APPENDIX. 



Beach's ingenuity has furnished what every rifleman 
has so long desired. He will see that this sight 
combines, in a cheap and simple form, the merits of 
the " bead " and " open " sights, so that without 
any removal, without an instant of delay, by a single 
movement of the finger, the hunter can use either, as 
his judgment decides is best, ivhen he stands looking at 
his game. 





Adjusted for Open Sight. 



Adjusted for Globe Sight. 



The writer of this has had for nearly a year this 
sight upon his favorite rifle, where it has had months 
of actual trial ; and, whether uj)on the target-grounds 
of our best clubs or amid the Adirondack wilderness, 
it has met every want, and remains to-day, where it 
always will remain, on his rifle, an indisputable witness 
to the value of the invention. 

If space would allow, we might quote the enthusi- 
astic indorsement of such men as Lewis of Troy, 
W. P. McFarland, Superintendent of the Massachu- 
setts Arms Company ; the celebrated veteran sportsman 
Edward Stabler, Esq., of Maryland ; F. G. Gunn, Esq., 
President of the Hawk E^-e Rifle Club of Connecti^ 



APPEiNDIX. 235 

cut, and of scores of hunters and trappers in Northern 
New York, wliere the sight was taken for trial last 
summer. 

Without a single exception^ the verdict has been 
unanimous for its adoption. 

A hunter in Canada writes : " I would not part with 
Beach's sight, after four months' trial, for twenty mink- 
skins." Another, from Connecticut, writes : " Fifty 
dollars would not purchase my sight." Yet another, 
from the North Woods, declares : " The best thinj'- I 
ever saw. I have hunted and trapped for thirty years, 
and I can kill one third more game with this sight 
than with any other I ever had." An amateur in 
New York City writes : " The moment I saw the sight, 
my heart leapt for joy. Here is what I have always 
oeen looking for. I would have bought it at ten times 
its price. No rifle is fit for use without it." 

The following note is from Mr. Stabler. 

Sandy Spring, November 30, 1867. 
To E. B. BEAcn, Patentee of Beach's Combination Sifjht, Wc^f MeH- 
den, Connecticut : — 
I duly received, by mail, the patent bead or globe i-ifle 
sight. In principle it is by far the most complete and per- 
fect affair of the kind T have ever seen. In thus combining 
the two sights, the hnnter has all the advantage of both, 
by a mere touch of the finger, — a perfect bead sight for 
hunting, and a globe for close and long range shooting. 
Very respectfully, 

Edward Stabler. 

The two illustrations will serve to give you an idea 
of how tliQ sight operates, but to fairly appreciate, ^t 



2b6 APPENDIX. 

you must have it on your own rifle a few days, and 
see how admirably and completely it meets every want 
of the practical sportsman, in wood and field service. 
The sights are made with bases of different sizes, so as 
to fit any rifle, whether the slot is wide or narrow. In 
ten minutes, any man with a file can fit one to his 
rifle. Every sight is ivarranted. If it does not give 
perfect satisfaction, upon trial, you can return it and 
the money will be refunded. 

Unfortunately, the firm which contracted with Mr. 
Beach to manufacture the sights failed before intro- 
ducing them to the public, and the affairs of the 
company still being in litigation, the demand for 
these sights is left unsupplied. I understand that 
arrangements are making by which Mr. Beach will 
proceed to manufacture them himself; and I advise 
every one who owns a rifle to wi^ite him on the receipt 
of the information herein given, which, without the 
solicitation or knowledge of Mr. Beach, I gladly and 
freely impart. 

Address, E. B. Beach, Esq., West Meriden, Conn. 



THE END. 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 

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